Advisor

Baldwin, Brian S.

Committee Member

Rude, Brian J.

Committee Member

Burger, L. Wes

Committee Member

Jones, Jeanne C.

Committee Member

Lang, David J.

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Lemus, Rocky W.

Date of Degree

1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Abstract

In the southeastern United States, there is a need for a native, cool-season grass component for restoring and reclaiming grasslands and providing quality forage for livestock. Experiments were conducted on southeastern wildrye [Elymus glabriflorus (Vasey) Scribn. & C.R. Ball] to assess agronomic parameters, and establish a base of information for use in future research and breeding programs. Optimal germination requirements (temperature, light, pH, and physical dormancy) were evaluated. Our data suggests that for southeastern wildrye, the optimal temperature required for germination is between 15 and 20oC. Light treatments (constant dark, constant light, short day, and long day) did not influence germination as much as temperature, but can be a limiting factor to stand establishment. Acid source and pH treatments (HCl, H2SO4, and H3PO4 at four pHs 3, 4, 5, and 7) revealed that southeastern wildrye tends to germinate the greatest in soils with a pH greater than 5.0 (HCl at 66.7%), even though germination was observed in lower pHs. Physical dormancy treatments [bearded/glume intact (control), bearded/glumeless, debearded/glume intact, and bearded/glumeless removed] revealed the debearded/glume intact treatment had significantly less mean percentage germination (43.3%) than all other treatments. Planting depth was evaluated under five treatments ranging from surface planting to a depth of 2.54 cm. For the two years this study was conducted, the 0.64 cm treatment had greater percentage of seedlings to emerge than most other treatments. Forage quantity and quality were measured in three experiments. Orchardgrasses and tall fescue entries outperformed native entries in height, yield, and ground cover ratings. Forage quality analysis revealed statistical similarities between southeastern wildrye and improved, non-native cultivars. Harvest management evaluating cutting intervals (20, 30, 40, 60, and 80-d) and subsequent regrowth for two years was conducted. Quantity and quality analysis indicated that harvests should be conducted every 20 to 30-d in order to maintain nutritional requirements for livestock consumption. Future research should include: identification, selection, and development of southeastern wildrye plants with enhanced forage traits (persistence, palatability, lodging resistance) and establishment characteristics (higher germination, awnless), grazing trials, and fertility response trials.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/19558

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