Evaluating the Revegetation Success of Foothills Fescue Grassland

Jay Woosaree
Marshall McKenzie
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Seeding fescue grassland is often associated with low emergence and poor establishment. Alternative methods for re-vegetating fescue grassland include fescue plugs and the use of native hay. Each method has been partially effective, depending on site access, hay harvest techniques and operational costs.

The primary objective of this project was to demonstrate the ability to re-establish foothills fescue grassland, once it is disturbed. Additional research questions include:

  • Can a seeded community resist invasion of forage species?
  • Can management practices be augmented to favour a native community?
  • Are there survival/establishment benefits to seeding in the fall compared to the spring?
  • Can plugs of native species be successfully planted while dormant?
  • Will cultivated oats enable seed mixes to be based more on late seral species?
  • Will the use of late seral species accelerate native prairie recovery and expedite a reclamation certificate?
  • Will the use of different vegetation layers favour occupancy by sensitive species such as sharptailed grouse or other ground nesting birds?