native warm-season poster presentation, 3rd eastern native grass symposium. timing and germination...

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  • 1

    Native Warm-Season Grasses Identification, Establishment, and

    Management

    John P. Gruchy, Graduate Research Assistant

    Craig A. Harper, Associate Professor

    Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries

    UT Agricultural Extension Service

    Acknowledgements Dr. Craig Harper – NWSG establishment data,

    identification slides

    Dr. Jim Giocomo – Grassland bird models

    Dr. Tom Barnes (UTK) – Herbicide data

    Jeff Hodges (QU) – Establishment data

    Funding sources:

    Outline History of grasslands in Eastern US

    Grasslands in Tennessee

    Identification of NWSG’s

    What’s the big deal?

    Restoring native grasslands from seedbank

    Planting NWSG Establishment methods and weed control

    Managing existing grasslands for wildlife

  • 2

    Grasslands in the Eastern US

    Tallgrass prairie

    Tallgrass savanna and woodland

    99% loss of pre-settlement eastern grasslands

    9 of 14(64%) grassland birds declining > 2%/year

    Grasslands in Tennessee Areas around Nashville described as pastured over in native grasses “as far as the eye could see, with numerous heards of deer, elk, and buffalo.” (Ramsey 1853)

    Grasslands in Tennessee

    Big barrens

    Blackland prairie Mountain coves

    Oak savannah

  • 3

    What are NWSG? Perennial warm-season grasses native to Tennessee

    May include any of ~ 35 species of grasses

    Value for wildlife and forage varies considerably

    Big bluestem Andropogon gerardii Reaches 8 – 9 feet in height Seedhead 3 distinct racemes Fine hairs on sheath

    Grows on variety of soils Extremely drought tolerant Root systems up to 12 feet deep

    Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium Reaches 2 – 4 feet in height Seedheads quite hairy Stem red or purplish Leaves appear bluish

    Mature plant reddish-brown Grows on variety of soils

  • 4

    Broomsedge bluestem Andropogon virginicus Reaches 2 – 4 feet in height Stem pale yellowish-green; mature plant tannish-brown Racemes enclosed in spathe longer than raceme Flourishes in infertile soils

    Indiangrass Sorghastrum nutans Reaches 3 – 7 feet in height Seedhead golden bronze Prominent ligule resembles “buck-horn sight”

    Quite drought tolerant

    Switchgrass Panicum virgatum Reaches 3 – 6 feet in height Seedhead open panicle Leaves up to 30 inches long Ligule has dense patch of “hair”

    Extremely drought tolerant Does well on wet sites

  • 5

    Eastern gamagrass Tripsacum dactyloides Reaches 5 – 9 feet in height Seedhead 2 or 3 spikes Leaves 2 feet long Forms large “stool”

    Seed resembles corn

    Sideoats grama Bouteloua curtipendula Reaches 1 – 3 feet in height

    Leaves 4 – 8 inches long

    Oat-like seeds hang uniformly

    2 growth forms:

    - rhizomatous (8 – 14 inches tall) produces few seedheads

    - tall upright (16 – 30 inches tall) produces many seedheads reproduces from seed

    Other native warm-season grasses Purple top

    Tridens flavus

    Beaked panicgrass Panicum anceps

    Bushy bluestem Andropogon glomeratus

    Native CSG Wild rye (Elymus spp.) Little barley (Hordeum pusillum)

  • 6

    Why plant / establish NWSG?

    wildlife habitat forage / biomass production

    erosion control buffer strips

    Why plant/establish NWSG NWSG and associated forbs and shrubs

    may provide habitat for: Nesting Brood rearing Thermal cover Escape cover Food (forbs)

    Why plant / establish NWSG?

    You can actually plant cover!

  • 7

    Why plant/establish NWSG Farm bill programs

    CRP – 200,000 acres of established grass cover in TN GRP – limited acreage in TN CREP – watershed protection WHIP – wildlife related practices

    Mid-South Center for Native Grassland Management Based out of UTK Goal: convert/manage 600,000 acres NWSG in TN

    Structure and forbs are essential!

    Is planting necessary? Burn, spray, and disc to stimulate seedbank for wildlife

  • 8

    NWSG occurring naturally…

    indiangrass in Blount Co. little bluestem in Grundy Co.

    little bluestem in Henry Co. big bluestem in Fayette Co.

    Management practices are based on landowner objectives!

    Eliminate non-native grass Prepare field for spraying by burning, haying, or grazing Kill existing competition in season prior to planting! Spray in summer prior to planting:

    - bermudagrass - crabgrass - dallisgrass - johnsongrass

    Spray in fall prior to planting: - tall fescue - orchardgrass

    Amend soil by bringing pH to 6.0 and P and K to medium

  • 9

    Recommended herbicides (per acre) Bermudagrass (flowering stage)

    - 24 oz Arsenal AC®

    - 5 qts Roundup UltraMax®

    Crabgrass (earlier the better) - 1 qt Roundup® and/or 6 – 8 oz Plateau®

    Dallisgrass (100% green-up) - 2 qts Roundup® and/or 12 oz Plateau®

    Johnsongrass (18” at whorl) - 2 qts Roundup®, 12 oz Plateau® or 8 oz Select®

    Include 0.25% non-ionic surfactant or 2 pints of methylated seed oil with Plateau®, Arsenal®, or Select®

    Recommended herbicide (per acre)

    Tall fescue and Orchardgrass

    Spray when actively growing, 8 – 10” height

    Spring spraying: 2 qts Roundup UltraMax® with 8 oz Plateau®, plus 2 pts MSO and 2 pts 28-0-0 liquid fertilizer

    Fall spraying: 1 – 2 qts Roundup® plus 2 pts MSO

    Eliminating tall fescue

    Calibrate sprayer carefully!

    Use surfactant

    Fall kills are most effective Spring kills require a tank mix

  • 10

    Eliminating tall fescue

    Percentage cover tall fescue

    0 20 40 60 80

    100

    Co nto

    l

    Fa ll im

    az ap

    ic

    Fa ll im

    az ap

    ic sp

    rin g d

    isc

    Fa ll g

    lyp ho

    sa te

    Fa ll g

    lyp ho

    sa te

    sp rin

    g d isc

    Sp rin

    g i ma

    za pic

    Sp rin

    g g lyp

    ho sa

    te

    Eliminating tall fescue

    Percentage cover WSG

    0 20 40 60 80

    100

    Co nto

    l

    Fa ll im

    az ap

    ic

    Fa ll im

    az ap

    ic sp

    rin g d

    isc

    Fa ll g

    lyp ho

    sa te

    Fa ll g

    lyp ho

    sa te

    sp rin

    g d isc

    Sp rin

    g i ma

    za pic

    Sp rin

    g g lyp

    ho sa

    te

    Fall panicum Johnsongrass Broomsedge

    Eliminating tall fescue Spring roundup 2004

    July 2004

    Fall plateau 2003 Fall plateau 2003

    July 2004 April 2005

    Pre-emergence herbicides control aggressive weeds

    Allow seedbank to flourish

  • 11

    Eliminating orchardgrass

    Percentage CSG cover

    0 20

    40 60

    80 100

    Co ntr

    ol

    Fa ll im

    az ipi

    c

    Fa ll g

    lyp ho

    sa te

    Fa ll im

    az ipi

    c s pri

    ng di

    sc

    Fa ll g

    lyp ho

    sa te

    sp rin

    g d isc

    Sp rin

    g i ma

    zip ic

    Sp rin

    g g lyp

    ho sa

    te

    Orchardgrass Tall fescue

    Eliminating orchardgrass

    Control Fall imazapic Fall glyphosate spring disc

    Orchardgrass and bluegrass are plateau resistant

    Orchardgrass MUST be sprayed with roundup, best results were from a fall kill

    Planting NWSG

    You can control species composition and density!

    Plan out the arrangement and patch size landscape level area sensitivity (Dykes 2005)

    Buffers are a good way to provide habitat in agricultural landscape

  • 12

    Determine seeding rate

    Based on LANDOWNER OBJECTIVES!!

    NWSG for wildlife: 4 – 5 lbs PLS / acre May include 0.5 – 2 lbs PLS / acre forbs A mix of 3 or more species is common

    NWSG for forage: 8 – 12 lbs PLS / acre No forbs in planting Usually 1, sometimes 2 species

    Determine seeding rate Pure Live Seed (PLS) is indicator of seed quality EVERY BAG will be different!

    80%65% - 90%90% - 99%Switchgrass 75%50% - 90%65% - 90%Sideoats 50%50% - 90%40% - 70%Little blue 65%50% - 90%70% - 98%Indiangrass 65%50% - 90%60% - 90%Big blue

    Suggested Min. PLS

    Range of Germ

    Range of Purity

    Species Acceptable seed quality standards

    Source: Native Grass Seed – All You Ever Wanted to Know But Didn’t Know Who to Ask, The Native Grass Manager newsletter.

    Determine seeding rate

    Seed purity: 87.5 % (found on seed tag) Germination: 62.3 % (found on seed tag) PLS = 87.5 X 62.3 / 100 = 54.1

    Recommended seeding rate: 5 lbs PLS 5 / 54.1 X 100 = 9.2 lbs / acre should be sown

    ABC Seed Company Anywhere, USAABC Seed Company Anywhere, USA Crop: Big Bluestem Variety: Rountree Purity: 87.5% Inert: 12.48% Other Crop: .02% Weed Seed: .00% Noxious Weeds: 0 Origin: MO

    Germination: 62.3% Dormant Seed: 10% Total Germ: 97.5% Lot #: BB702 Date Tested: 1/31/05

  • 13

    Determine seeding rate

    Seed purity: 87.5 % (found on seed tag) Germination: 62.3 % (found on seed tag) PLS = 87.5 X 62.3 / 100 = 54.1

    Recommended seeding rate: 5 lbs PLS 5 / 54.1 X 100 = 9.2 lbs / acre should be sow

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