Translator Disclaimer
1 September 2007 Bluebunch Wheatgrass Response to Spring Defoliation on Foothill Rangeland
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Spring elk grazing may reduce forage availability for wildlife or livestock in summer and may harm forage resources on foothill rangeland. We quantified bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Love) response to spring defoliation on foothill rangeland in southwestern Montana. Two experiments were conducted simultaneously on a foothill grassland site and a foothill sagebrush steppe site. Bluebunch wheatgrass plants (n  =  800) were selected and excluded from wild and domestic ungulates. Clipping treatments were applied in either early spring (mid- to late April) or late spring (mid- to late May), and plants were clipped to 1 of 3 residual heights (3, 6, or 9 cm) for 1, 2, or 3 successive years. Unclipped plants served as controls. Plant response was measured in late June and late July on both sites. April clipping for 3 successive years did not adversely affect bluebunch wheatgrass in June or July (P > 0.05) at either site. On foothill grassland, May defoliation to 3 cm for 2 consecutive years reduced leaf height (P  =  0.04) in July. May defoliation for 3 successive years to 3 or 6 cm reduced plant yield (P < 0.05) and leaf height (P < 0.05) in June, and May defoliation for 3 successive years to 3 cm reduced leaf height (P  =  0.02) in July. On foothill sagebrush steppe, 3 successive years of May defoliation to ≤ 9-cm stubble heights decreased leaf height in June (P < 0.05). We conclude that foothill rangelands where bluebunch wheatgrass receives moderate or light defoliation (6–9-cm residual stubble heights) in mid- to late May should be limited to no more than 2 successive years of mid- to late May grazing, whereas sites that receive heavy to severe defoliation (≤ 3-cm residual stubble heights) in mid- to late May should not be grazed for 2 successive years during mid- to late May.

Tracy K. Brewer, Jeffrey C. Mosley, Daniel E. Lucas, and Lisa R. Schmidt "Bluebunch Wheatgrass Response to Spring Defoliation on Foothill Rangeland," Rangeland Ecology and Management 60(5), 498-507, (1 September 2007). https://doi.org/10.2111/1551-5028(2007)60[498:BWRTSD]2.0.CO;2
Received: 21 December 2005; Accepted: 4 June 2007; Published: 1 September 2007
JOURNAL ARTICLE
10 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top