Two field experiments, one each on Austrodanthonia spp. and Bothriochloa macra, investigated the effects of biomass manipulation, seed level modification, site preparation and pasture composition on the recruitment of native perennial grass seedlings. The experiments coincided with drier than average years and although successful emergence of seedlings occurred, survival was extremely low. In the Austrodanthonia experiment, control treatments resulted in the emergence of only 1 seedling/m2, whereas there were 130/m2 in the best treatment which had biomass cut with plant material removed, seed added, and the soil surface scarified. Insecticide treatments increased emergence as seed-harvesting ants are common in these systems, but the benefits were small. Similarly, B. macra had no emergence in the control treatment compared with 73 seedlings/m2 in the best treatment, which was pasture cropped, and had seed added and herbicide applied. Availability of microsites may be a major constraint to B. macra emergence, as soil disturbance through pasture cropping substantially increased seedling numbers (279/m2). The effects of herbicide on emergence were small with the largest being related to bare ground and litter biomass. Austrodanthonia seedling numbers at emergence were related to bare ground, litter and green biomass. Survival of young Austrodanthonia plants 24 weeks after emergence was negatively related to plant cover, but only in treatments where plant material was cut and removed. The success of survival was determined at 52 weeks after emergence and the number of young plants that survived in both experiments seemed to have been influenced by the presence of competitive biomass of existing plants.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Crop and Pasture Science|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Jul 2011|