Submitted to: Weed Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2012
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Citation: Johnson, D.A. 2012. Challenges of developing North American legumes for use on Great Basin Rangelands. Abstracts of Annual Meetings of the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, Jan. 18-19, 2012.
Use of a diversity of species in rangeland restoration/revegetation programs in the Great Basin Region of the western U.S. can help minimize weed invasion because these species occupy available niches that could otherwise be colonized by invasive weeds. Legumes are of particular interest because they can biologically fix nitrogen, which can result in increased plant productivity and enhance forage quality for livestock and wildlife, and provide important food sources for pollinators. Relatively few North American legumes, however, are commercially available for use in the Great Basin. For the last several years, the Forage and Range Research Lab has been working on the collection and evaluation of three North American legume species: basalt milkvetch (Astragalus filipes), western prairie clover (Dalea ornata), and Searls' prairie clover (D. searlsiae) for use in rangeland revegetation/restoration. Seed collections of the three species were made across their range of distribution and common-garden and AFLP genotyping techniques were used to identify promising collections for release to the commercial seed trade. Greenhouse and field studies are identifying the best seeding techniques to establish these species. Results to date suggest that seed scarification markedly improves the germination of both western and Searls' prairie clover.