• Emergence and Establishment of Basin Wild-Rye and Tall Wheatgrass in Relation to Moisture and Salinity

      Roundy, B. A. (Society for Range Management, 1985-03-01)
      Many saline, arid rangelands in the Great Basin once dominated by basin wildrye (Elymus cinereus Scribn. & Merr.) could again be highly productive following brush control and seeding of adapted species. The effects of spring precipitation and soil salinity on emergence and establishment of Jose tall wheatgrass [Agropyron elongatum (Host) Beauv. 'Jose'] and Magnar, a selected cultivar of basin wildrye, were compared in central Nevada. Both species were seeded in circular plots on a nonsaline and a moderately saline soil (electrical conductivity of the saturation extract, ECe, of 7.0 ds m-1) and irrigated to simulate a gradient in spring precipitation. Magnar basin wildrye required higher and more frequent irrigation and precipitation in April through June to produce an acceptable stand of seedlings (at least 2 seedlings per meter of row) on the moderately saline soil than on the nonsaline soil. Jose tall wheatgrass produced acceptable seedling stands without irrigation and excellent stands (6 seedlings per meter of row) with irrigation on both soils following a wet winter and during a dry spring. Although mature basin wildrye is well adapted to many saline, arid soils, it definitely will require supplemental irrigation to establish from seed. Tall wheatgrass is more salt tolerant and less sensitive to plant water stress at the seedling stage than basin wildrye, so it is more likely to establish on saline, arid soils without irrigation. However, mature tall wheatgrass may not persist in areas that receive less than 30 cm annual precipitation. Until more drought and salt-tolerant plant materials are available, saline, arid soils should not be seeded without supplemental irrigation.