Semiarid Old-Field Restoration: Is Neighbor Control Needed?

Wilson, S.D., J.D. Bakker, J.M. Christian, X. Li, L.G.Ambrose and J. Waddington

Publication Date:

Restoration practice suggests that neighbor control is essential in semiarid grasslands, but ecological theory predicts that neighbor effects are relatively small in young fields. We investigated the effectiveness of neighbor control (mowing and herbicide) for establishing native grasses in a recently abandoned field in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. We also examined its interactions with common restoration techniques, such as mulching (straw and sawdust) and contrasting sowing methods (drilling, and broadcasting cleaned seeds, cleaning remainders, and native hay). Our results suggest that restorations of semiarid old fields should focus less on neighbor control and more on strategies for exploiting suitable years for germination, either by monitoring soil moisture or through repeated seeding.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Ecological Applications