Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1963

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

G. W. Tomanek

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to collect information on basal cover, percentage composition, yield of grasses and common forbs found on five undisturbed prairies, as well as a detailed description of the limy upland soils. Sites selected were located on four different limestone formations of varying geologic age. The four formations included the Ash Hollow member of the Ogallala formation; Fort Hays limestone member of the Niobrara formation; Fairport Shale member of the Carlile Shale formation; and the Bridge Creek limestone member of the Greenhorn formation. Basal cover and percentage composition of grasses were determined by use of point frame transects established at random. Data collected were subjected to statistical analyses. Forage yields were determined from clippings made the first two weeks in October, 1962. Eight square meter quadrats were clipped at random, on each area, to determine seasonal yield of grasses. Average yield of air-dried forage for each area was computed and converted to pounds per acre. Profile descriptions were taken at approximately the center of each study area. Soil samples were collected individually, thoroughly mixed and color coded. The percentage of each textural soil component and the hydrogen- ion concentration of the soil solution was determined. Soils of these sites were closely related in surface and subsoil characteristics, depth, position and general mode of development, but were derived from different parent materials. The dominant grasses were big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi), Little bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), side-oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) and blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), with big bluestem furnishing over 50 percent of the total vegetative composition on four of the sites. Side-oats grama was the second principal grass and averaged 25 percent of the composition on all sites. Varying amounts of little bluestem and blue grama were found. Basal cover varied from 20.1 percent to 26.6 percent. Considerable variations were noted in total yields even though little variation existed in basal cover on the five sites. The greatest total production for a single area was 4,593.7 pounds of air-dried forage per acre, while the lowest was 2,717.3 pounds per acre. Big bluestem was the principal producer on four of the sites and produced 50 percent or more of the total vegetation on each site, while side-oats grama furnished over one-half of the total production on the other site. Other significant producers were little bluestem, blue grama and on several sites, tall dropseed (Sporobolus asper).

Rights

Copyright 1963 Larry Dean Lunsford

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

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