3075 Lane 51 1/2

Manderson, WY 82432





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The use of natives is desirable in most dryland reclamation settings for a number of reasons. In the arid West a number of conditions exist which cause introduced varieties to fail. The frequency of extreme drought, duration of extreme drought, and the high frequency of moderate drought render most tame pasture grasses such as Orchardgrass, Perennial Ryegrass and Bromegrass very risky solutions to long term problems. Reclamation planners must consider drought to be a certainty when planning species for a project.

There are some introduced varieties such as crested wheatgrass or Siberian Wheatgrass which are drought tolerant but which are unacceptable for other reasons. Ability to allow a diverse community is a major drawback to these aggressive species. Crested Wheatgrass will drive out competing species and create mono-culture reclamation.

Some non-native species can spread rapidly beyond a reclaimed area to threaten the diversity of established flora. Redtop, Clover, Smooth Bromegrass and Crested Wheat all have the ability to become serious weed problems.

Cold tolerance and snow cover variability can contribute to the failure of introduced species. Orchardgrass and Birdsfoot trefoil are susceptible to winterkill when exposed to low temperatures.

Species such as Perennial Ryegrass, Orchardgrass and clover are usually short lived (3-7 yrs) and though often less expensive than natives represent a higher cost if periodic reseeding is necessary.

In managing for a healthy habitat, diversity of plants and animals should be a high priority for reclamation planners. A highly diverse plant community is more likely to offer forage and cover each year because each species is keyed to different moisture and temperature regimes. Most natives grow in association with each other and have developed stable diverse communities which provide benefits such as soil stabilization, water retention and micro climate sheltering.

Put the adaptability and diversity of natives to work toward your reclamation goals and you will get sustainable results.



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