Viewpoint: The present status and future prospects of squirreltail research
AuthorJones, T. A.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationJones, T. A. (1998). Viewpoint: The present status and future prospects of squirreltail research. Journal of Range Management, 51(3), 326-331.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractSquirreltail's [Elymus elymoides (Raf.) Swezey + Sitanion hystrix (Nutt.) J.G. Smith] ready germination, rapid reproductive maturity, capacity for cool-temperature growth, self-pollinated mating system, excellent seed dispersal mechanisms, fire tolerance, and genetic diversity make it a promising candidate for assisting ecological restoration of rangelands dominated by exotic weedy annual grasses such as medusahead wildrye [Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski] and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.). Squirreltail is a short-lived perennial and generally early seral in successional status. It comprises a complex of several subspecies whose ecological amplitudes are poorly understood. Wildfire or prescribed burning may provide opportunities for seeding squirreltail or augmenting existing populations. Grazing deferment is important for a successful transition from an annual to a perennial-dominated grassland. Reduction in frequency of annuals may facilitate natural or artificial establishment of desirable mid- or late-seral grasses, forbs, and shrubs. Currently, squirreltail seed supplies originate from wildland harvests. Reduced cost, dependable supply, and improved quality of seed will require development of efficient commercial seed production practices. Experience in restoration may reveal the suitability of squirreltail plant material for assisted succession as well as expose its weaknesses. Such information will allow researchers to improve plant materials and methods for increased future success.