Crested Wheatgrass Defoliation Intensity and Season on Medusahead Invasion
MetadataShow full item record
CitationSheley, R. L., Bingham, B. S., & Svejcar, T. J. (2008). Crested wheatgrass defoliation intensity and season on medusahead invasion. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 61(2), 211-217.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractThe objective of this study was to determine the effects of crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertn.) defoliation intensity and timing on medusahead density and biomass. We hypothesized that crested wheatgrass defoliation greater than 60% during the spring would provide maximum medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medsae [L.] Nevski subsp. asperum [Simk.] Melderis; taxonomy from US Department of Agriculture) density and biomass. Eighteen treatments (six defoliation levels, three seasons of defoliation) were applied to 2-m2 plots in a randomized complete block design on two sites with varying clay content. Blocks were replicated five times at each site. Plants were clipped in 2004 and 2005. Crested wheatgrass was hand clipped to defoliation levels of 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% in the spring, summer, or fall. Density of crested wheatgrass and medusahead was sampled in June 2005 and 2006, but their biomass was harvested only in 2006. Data were analyzed with least square means analysis of variance. Over the two seasons, site had much more of an impact on medusahead invasion than either defoliation intensity or timing of defoliation. The results support previous suggestions that clayey soils favor medusahead and that perennial grasses with high biomass can resist this invasive species. On the clayey site where medusahead did persist, fall defoliation of crested wheatgrass reduced the density of this invasive species by 50% or more compared to spring defoliation. Given the developmental pattern of medusahead, the goal of any management program should be to maximize resource use by the desirable species during April to late July.