Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Ecology, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Oct., 1933), pp. 368-390. Copyright 1933 Ecological Society of America. Used by permission.


A study has been made of the regeneration of bluestem grasses in ex- closures in continuously grazed native pastures. The persistence of remnants of the bunches or mats of sod in old pastures for a long period of years is of interest, as is also their gradual but slow rate of recovery under protection when they are greatly weakened. Even in low, fertile, well watered soil, a period of three or four years must elapse before such species as Andropogon furcatus and Sorghastrum nutans produce the usual abundance of flowers stalks and large quantities of viable seed. The first summer only a poor growth of scattered foliage outlines in a fragmentary manner the location of the underground parts that have been thoroughly weakened by continuous depletion of their food supplies. A second growing season shows a marked filling in of the sodded areas or clumps and about half the normal production of foliage. During the third summer the area is further extended and at least a few flower stalks and some seed are usually produced.