Choose between failure and success. Cheatgrass, left, or solid local natives with no weeds, on right.
Successful Great Basin Native Grassland restoration relies a few basic concepts:
1. Plant test plots, with local genetic material. Never use seed mixes, cultivars or non-local seed.
2. Use small test plot sizes and try many different local species and varied treatments.
3. Keep planting, until you achieve successful small scale test plots for each species.
4. Determine what the soil nutrient needs are for the native species you want to grow, in the place of the weeds. Each species has its own soil nutrient threshold level that their seedlings need to survive into reproductive adulthood.
5. Check for what the minimum level of surface soil organic matter (in the top 2 inches) is required for the native seedling survival for each species you want to plant.
6. Check for the granivore-desires for every native seeds you want to plant, both ants and rodents, and invent methods to stop robbing and caching the seeds.
7. Expand successes over larger areas, ONLY after you have produced successful techniques in your test plots.
8. Plan your budget for the larger area, to be able to have the ecotype seeds collected locally by professional collectors, and contract for commercial bulk reproduction of those locally collected seeds.
Performance standards for local Great Basin native grasses, within two years from sowing should produce the following plant diameters:
Blue bunch wheatgrass = 3", Great Basin wild rye = 5", Indian Ricegrass = 3-5", Poa = 2", Sitanion = 6" and Thurber's Stipa = 4".
Within two years or less, you need 98% or better native cover. If not, start your test plots over.
After 10 years, conduct an age-pyramid survey on the basal diameters of 100 plants of each grass species, and make sure you have produced reproducing populations. If not, check soil nutrient levels, and add fertilizers until you get the top 2 inches, back above seedling survival thresholds.
Updated January 14, 2018. Back to Craig Dremann's main Contents page.