Crested Wheatgrass Seedbank

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Crested Wheatgrass Seedbank

July 8, 2013

Lauren Stoffel and Dan Mummey explain recent efforts to germinate the residual seedbank of invasive plants, specifically crested wheatgrass.

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We applied herbicide to crested wheatgrass stands across the ranch this spring to control crested wheatgrass and other invasive plants. Later, we harrowed these stands to disrupt the soil and encourage the germination of the residual seed bank. To determine seed bank extent and diversity, we collected soil from 58 areas and tested for seedling germination. We continue to monitor seedling germination in these samples and look for the presence of species that may compromise future restoration projects.

After three weeks, the majority of collection sites contain no seedlings and those that do vary by species. Invasive stork’s bill dominates the northern sainfoin soils. Kochia makes up most of the seedlings in the crested wheatgrass field next to the orchard house, and the southern crested soils contain many crested wheatgrass seedlings. We will continue to monitor these soils to characterize the seed banks in these areas and use that information to guide site specific treatments in the fall.