U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska

 

Date of this Version

11-2001

Citation

Journal Of Range Management 54(6), November 2001

Abstract

Simple, reliable tools are needed by land managers to quantify establishment success when seeding or re-seeding pastures or rangeland. A frequency grid was designed to measure seedling or plant establishment success for a single species, mixtures of species, or single species of a mixture. The frequency grid is a metal frame containing 25 squares (5 x 5) or cells and can be made from concrete reinforcing sheets that have 15 x 15 cm squares. When used, the frequency grid is either randomly or systematically placed within a seeded area. The number of cells containing 1 or more seeded plants is counted. The grid is then flipped, end-over-end, and the counts are repeated. The process is repeated until a total of 100 cells have been counted per sampling location within a seeded area. Counts can be directly converted into frequency of occurrence or stand percentages by dividing the number of cells that contain a seeded plant by 100. The process can be repeated at several locations within a seeded area to characterize establishment success. Multiplying frequency of occurrence percentages by 0.4 provides a conservative estimate of plant density (plants m-2). A single measurement of 100 frequency grid cells can be taken in less than 5 minutes. The frequency grid is inexpensive to make, requires minimal training, permits rapid measurements, and provides a meaningful estimate of plant density. The frequency grid has been used to document herbicide efficacy and seeding rates for use in grassland establishment in the central Great Plains and should be easily adaptable for use in other geographic regions.