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


Date of this Version



Robins, J.G., K.B. Jensen, T.A. Jones, B.L. Waldron, M. Peel, C.W. Rigby, K.P. Vogel, R.B. Mitchell, A.J. Palazzo, T.J. Cary. 2013. Establishment and persistence of perennial cool-season grasses in the Intermountaion west and the Central and Northern Great Plains. Rangeland Ecology and Management 66:181-190. http://www.srmjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.2111/REM-D-11-00022.1.


U.S. government work


The choice of plant materials is an important component of revegetation following disturbance. To determine the utility and effectiveness of various perennial grass species for revegetation on varied landscapes, a meta analysis was used to evaluate the stand establishment and persistence of 18 perennial cool-season grass species in 34 field studies in the Intermountain and Great Plains regions of the United States under monoculture conditions. Combined across the 34 studies, stand establishment values ranged from 79% to 43% and stand persistence values ranged from 70% to 0%. Intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium [Host] Barkworth & D. R. Dewey), tall wheatgrass (Thinopyrum ponticum [Podp.] Z.-W. Liu & R.-C. Wang), crested wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.), Siberian wheatgrass (Agropyron fragile [Roth] P. Candargy), and meadow brome (Bromus riparius Rehmann) possessed the highest stand establishment (≥69%). There were no significant differences among the 12 species with the largest stand persistence values. Basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus (Scribn. & Merr.) A. Love), Altai wildrye (Leymus angustus [Trin.] Pilg.), slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus [Link] Gould ex Shinners), squirreltail (Elymus spp.), and Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides [Roem. & Schult.] Barkworth) possessed lower stand persistence (≤32%) than the majority of the other species, and Indian ricegrass (0%) possessed the lowest stand persistence of any of the species. Correlations between environmental conditions and stand establishment and persistence showed mean annual study precipitation to have the most consistent, although moderate effect (r=~0.40) for establishment and persistence. This relationship was shown by the relatively poor stand establishment and persistence of most species at sites receiving less than 310 mm of annual precipitation. These results will be a tool for land managers to make decisions concerning the importance of stand establishment, stand persistence, and annual precipitation for revegetation projects on disturbed sites.