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Establishment of warm-season grasses in summer and damage in winter under supplementary irrigation in a semi-arid environment at high elevation in western United States of America

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As with other areas of the world, herbage production of cool-season grasses in irrigated semi-arid areas of the western USA at high elevation declines during summer. The use of warm-season grasses during this period could be a possible way to ameliorate this decline in herbage production. The ability of twenty-one grass cultivars, representing seven warm-season grass species, to establish in the summer of 2005, as measured by stand frequency and herbage production, the potential for damage in winter under irrigated conditions in 2005–2006 and the stand frequency in 2006 at two sites in semi-arid environments of the western USA was compared with that of a cultivar of each of six cool-season grass species. Some warm-season grass species, including switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), showed potential for use in this environment, based on their similar herbage production in 2005 and similar values of stand frequency in 2005 and 2006 to that of cool-season grasses. All the cultivars of the warm-season grass species suffered greater winter damage than did the cultivars of the cool-season species. The higher winter damage to the species of warm-season grasses did not correspond with a lower stand frequency in the second year.
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Keywords: bio-energy; herbage production; semi-arid environment; stand frequency; switchgrass

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2009

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