Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this study was to determine the soil vegetation relationships on a chalk flat range site in Gove County Kansas. The research area used in this study was located in the north half of section 33, township 14 south, range 31 west adjacent to the Smokey Hill river in Gove County, Kansas. A line transect was established across the research area. The soil and vegetation were determined along the transect. Soil descriptions were written at one-tenth of a mile intervals. The descriptions showed the soils consisted of a deep, light colored friable silt loan and light silty clay loam developed on colluvial fans below Niobrara chalk-rock bluffs. Textural analyses of the soils were determined by the hydrometer method. The analyses indicated the soils contained a high clay content. However, the high calcium carbonate content presumably accounted for this condition. The organic matter of the soils varied from 0.2 to 3.2 per cent; the pH ranged from 7.1 to 7.8 in the surface two horizons; the calcium carbonate content varied from 42.1 to 79.0 per cent. The intake rate of the soils was determined by cylinder infiltrometers. The accumulative intake rate varied from 1.42 to 9.36 inches per hour at the end of a four hour period. The intake was Greatest where little bluestem was the dominant grass. Also, the variability of intake rate was probably due to the immature nature of the soil. A total of 88 plant species was found on the research area. The percentage composition, frequency, and basal cover of the vegetation were determined by the point frame method. A total of 16,320 points were examined with 2,669 of these points intercepting crowns of grasses. This gave an overall basal cover of 16.4 percent. The dominant species of grass was side-oats grama. It made up 75.9 per cent of the species composition. Buffalo grass occurred as pure stand islands and comprised 7.1 per cent of the composition. Salt grass ranked third in percentage composition with 6.3 percent. Little bluestem and sand dropseed comprised 3.2 and 3.1 percent of the composition, respectively. Big bluestem occupied the more mesic habitats and comprised 1.6 per cent of the composition. The forage yield was determined at the end of the growing season by the square meter or clip quadrat method. The yield varied from 1,014.6 pounds to 3,764.7 pounds per acre. The dominant species in both instances was side- oats grams. Where little bluestem occurred in nearly pure stands the yield varied from 1,566.4 pounds to 2,225.0 pounds per acre. When big bluestem occurred in a pure but open stand it produced 3,364.1 pounds of forage per acre. The field of buffalo grass in pure stands was 1,869.0 pounds per acre.


Committee Chair

Date of Award

Summer 1960

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1960 Lyle D. Linnell


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