Survival and Growth of Wildflowers with Buffalo Grass or Blue Grama Grass

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  • 1 University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center, 461 West University Drive, North Platte, NE 69101-7756

Two studies in west-central Nebraska to determine the survival of wildflowers planted with buffalo grass [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] and blue grama grass [Bouteloua gracilis (H.B.K.) Lag. ex Steud.)] were conducted in 6 and 10 year studies. In total, 19 forbs and 1 grass were transplanted with `Texoka' buffalo grass in the first study, and 16 forbs were planted in a split-plot design into 3 buffalo grass selections, blue grama or a clean cultivated plot in the second study. Survival between transplants in both studies varied significantly. In the first study, survival was significantly higher for little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium Michx.) (85%), bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis L.) (100%), and stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida L.) (100%) over the 6 years of the study. In the second study, there were significant differences between species for survival, with grayhead prairie coneflower [Ratibida pinnata (Vent.) Barnh.] (85%) and pitcher sage (Salvia azurea Lam.) (80%) having the highest survival at the end of the 10-year study. There were significant differences in height and number of flower stalks within S. rigida, R. pinnata, and S. azurea between years and between main plots. This study demonstrates differences in survival and growth of wildflowers when planted in conjunction with buffalo grass and blue grama grass.

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