• Long-Term Plant Establishment on Mined Lands in Southeastern Montana

      Holechek, J. L.; DePuit, E. J.; Coenenberg, J.; Valdez, R. (Society for Range Management, 1982-07-01)
      Research was conducted on strip mined lands at Colstrip, Mon., over a 6-year period to evaluate germination, survival and cover characteristics of fairway crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), critana thickspike wheatgrass (Agropgron dasystachyum), ranger alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens). All 4 species showed good initial establishment and long-term survival/growth even though subjected to 2 consecutive years of drought when growing season precipitation was less than 50% of the mean. Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer application after emergence had no effect on initial or long-term survival of any species. However plant canopy and litter cover were increased for all species except fourwing saltbush by fertilizer application. There was little invasion of native species into the study area. Critana thickspike wheatgrass is a native species that appears well suited for seeding mixtures on mined lands in the study area. However, because of aggressiveness, the use of fairway crested wheatgrass is not recommended in mixtures from which a diversity of native species is the vegetation goal.