Title

Effects of irrigation and mowing on species diversity of grass and wildflower mixtures for the Intermountain West

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Native Plants Journal

Volume

7

Issue

3

Publisher

University of Wisconsin Press

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2006

First Page

267

Last Page

278

Abstract

Grass and wildflower mixtures can be aesthetically appealing, water-conserving, low-maintenance alternatives to conventional turfgrass. One problem with these mixtures is loss of species diversity over time. We examined the effects of irrigation and mowing on the species diversity of 3 grass and wild-flower mixtures. The nonirrigated and non-mowed treatment combination maintained diversity most effectively whereas the irrigated and mowed treatment combination was least effective. Generally, when the irrigation treatment was significant (P < 0.05), irrigated plots contained more wildflowers. When the mowing treatment was significant (P < 0.05), mowed plots contained more common yarrow (Achillea millefolium L. [Asteraceae]) and strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum L. [Fabaceae]) and fewer Pacific aster (Symphyotrichum chilense (Nees) Nesom [Asteraceae]). Height measurements on non-mowed plots showed that irrigated plots had taller canopies than nonirrigated plots. Common yarrow was the most competitive wildflower, followed by strawberry clover and Pacific aster. Mixture 3 containing crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. [Poaceae]) and thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) Gould ssp. lanceolatus [Poaceae]) maintained species diversity for the longest duration under nonirrigated and non-mowed conditions.

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