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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 50 No. 4, p. 1546-1551
     
    Received: Sept 24, 2009


    * Corresponding author(s): matt.sanderson@ars.usda.gov
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doi:10.2135/cropsci2009.09.0542

Virginia Wildrye Persistence and Performance in Riparian Areas

  1. Matt A. Sanderson *a,
  2. Martin van der Grintenb and
  3. Robert C. Stouta
  1. a USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, Building 3702 Curtin Road, University Park, PA 16802
    b USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center, Big Flats, NY 14830

Abstract

Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus L.), a perennial cool-season grass native to the northeastern United States, grows in moist low ground and could be useful in revegetating riparian areas. In this field study, we compared six populations of Virginia wildrye originally collected from Maryland and New York with a commercial ecotype and a cultivar (‘Omaha’) on wet soils at three locations. All entries were transplanted into single-row field plots of 15 plants per plot at Wye, MD, Klingerstown, PA, and Big Flats, NY, in April 2004. Rows were oriented perpendicular to the slope so that each population was evaluated at the top, middle, and bottom slope positions. Survivorship, tillers per plant, and plant dry weight were assessed in 2007. Survivorship after 3 yr ranged from 57 to 76% for the six populations and averaged 85% for the ecotype and 77% for the cultivar. Tillers per plant ranged from 26 to 52 for the populations compared with 32 for the cultivar and 29 for the ecotype. Landscape position affected wildrye plants only at the Maryland site where frequently saturated soils at the bottom slope position reduced survivorship by 50%, tiller number by 60%, and plant dry weight by 82% compared with plants at the top of the slope. Most of the wild populations of Virginia wildrye were similar to the commercial cultivar and ecotype in survival, number of tillers per plant, and biomass indicating that locally adapted native populations can be used directly in conservation plantings.

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