Research Paper No. 11
Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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The herbaceous undercover on much of the aspen range in the Intermountain region is badly deteriorated. These areas, naturally highly productive, when revegetated can contribute greatly towards a much needed supply of range forage. One of the major obstacles to successful seeding has been the difficulty of getting the seeds covered with soil since both standing and fallen trees interfere with the use of drills, harrows, or other machinery. In the search for methods to overcome this difficulty, it was found that for open aspen stands the covering of seeds is unnecessary when the right precautions are taken in other phases of planting.
On the basis of results obtained from experiments still in progress and some older large-scale plantings made by national forests, it seems clear that when seeds are broadcast shortly before, during, or soon after leaf fall, the leaves form a mat that conserves the surface soil moisture long enough for young seedlings to establish themselves. Adapted species must of course be used, but among the best are several species not yet available commercially. Fortunately, a very well adapted species, smooth bromegrass and three other really good ones, tall oatgrass, orchardgrass, and timothy, are usually available. Success has been so great with scattering seed in open stands of aspen at such a time as will permit falling leaves to cover the seed or to permit seeds to work down into freshly fallen leaves, that an immediate extensive action program is justified. Further studies will no doubt contribute to the effectiveness of future aspen range reseeding.
Plummer, A. Perry; Stewart, George. 1944. Seeding grass on deteriorated aspen range. Research Paper 11. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 6 p.