Do fire and seed additions alter strong seed timing and priority effects on prairie establishment?, 2011

(2011) Do fire and seed additions alter strong seed timing and priority effects on prairie establishment?, 2011. Transportation, Department of


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Many prairie restoration projects are hampered by a lack of knowledge on how to restore the high diversity found in prairies, while at the same time preventing the establishment of a large weedy component. Methods are needed to increase diversity and abundance of native species while minimizing exotic species invasions in both 1) newly planted restorations and 2) established restorations. We established an experiment in Story and Monona counties in 2005 to determine the effects of different native cover crop species and timing of seeding on the establishment of new prairie restorations. We found that adding a 30-species prairie mix in early spring led to diverse native communities, but adding the mix in the late summer or the following year after cover crops established led to low diversity communities dominated by exotics. The identity of cover crops affected communities less than timing of seed additions. A second seed addition added to ash after a spring fire in the seventh year (Monona County site) increased recruitment from the prairie mix slightly, but the increase was not enough to cause convergence in the treatments. Surprisingly, the second seed addition increased diversity only in communities that were already the most diverse (i.e., in plots seeded with the prairie mix in early spring before cover crops established). These results imply that 1) cover crops are not effective for establishing prairie and 2) over seeding into established plots may not be an easy and efficient way to increase native recruitment and lower weedy species abundances. Therefore, focusing on establishing high levels of recruitment and diversity and excluding weedy species during the critical time early in establishment should be a priority for new projects.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Note: Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund project page:
Keywords: Fire; Grasslands; Seeding; Seeds; Vegetation; Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund
Subjects: Natural resources and environment > Ecology > Plants
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Environment
ID Code: 21902
Deposited By: Leighton Christiansen
Deposited On: 06 Apr 2016 19:12
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2016 19:12