There is increased interest in the use of summer-season fires to limit woody plant encroachment into grasslands, but effects of these fires on grasses are poorly understood. We quantified effects of repeated winter fires, repeated summer fires, and clipping (to simulate grazing) on aboveground total yield, live yield, and percentage of live tissue of C3 Texas wintergrass (Nassella leucotricha [Trin. & Rupr.] Pohl.), and C4 buffalograss (Buchloë dactyloides [Nutt.] Engelm.) in 2 experiments. Monospecific patches of each species were exposed to 1 of 3 fire treatments (no-fire, 2 winter fires in 3 years, or 2 summer fires in 3 years) and 1 of 2 clip treatments (no clip or clip once each spring). Experiment 1 evaluated effects of fire without grazing or clipping on late-growing season (late-season) yields. Late-season total yield of both species recovered from winter and summer fires within 1 or 2 growing seasons post-fire. By 3 years post-fire, Texas wintergrass late-season total yield was 2 times greater in the summer fire treatment than the winter fire or no-fire treatments, and buffalograss late-season total yield was 3 times greater in summer and winter fire treatments than in the no-fire treatment. Experiment 2 evaluated combined effects of fire and clipping the previous spring on spring-season yields. Clipping alone or with fire (summer or winter) reduced Texas wintergrass yields on more sample dates than occurred with buffalograss. By 3 years post-fire, buffalograss spring total yield was greater in all fire and fire clip treatments than in the clip only or untreated controls. Results suggest: 1) both species were tolerant of summer fire, 2) fire in either season with or without clipping stimulated buffalograss production, and 3) buffalograss was more tolerant than Texas wintergrass to the combined effects of clipping fire (either season).
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Vol. 60 • No. 2