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Title: Soil temperature and moisture dynamics after experimental irrigation on two contrasting soils on the Santa Rita Experimental Range: Implications for mesquite establishment

Author: English, Nathan B.; Williams, David G.; Weltzin, Jake F.;

Date: 2003

Source: In: McClaran, Mitchel P.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Edminster, Carleton B., tech. coords. Santa Rita Experimental Range: 100 years (1903 to 2003) of accomplishments and contributions; conference proceedings; 2003 October 30-November 1; Tucson, AZ. Proc. RMRS-P-30. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 188-192.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: We established a large-scale manipulative experiment in a semidesert grassland on the Santa Rita Experimental Range to determine how the recruitment and physiology of woody plants (Prosopis velutina Woot.) are affected by invasive grasses, seasonal precipitation regimes, and underlying soil characteristics. We established 72 2.8-m2 plots beneath six large rainout shelters divided evenly between a clay-rich and a sandy loam soil less than 1 km apart. Monospecific stands of the the invasive African grass Eragrostis lehmanniana and the native grass Heteropogon contortus were established into four plots each, and four plots were left bare under each shelter. Our watering protocol simulated 50 percent increases and decreases in average summer precipitation. Here we compare soil water content and temperature in Eragrostis and bare plots during a large, isolated irrigation event that we applied to the plots in June 2002. Daily average and maximum temperatures near the soil surface declined following the irrigation compared to nonirrigated, external plots, and were cooler for several days afterwards. Soil moisture contents declined and maximum soil temperatures increased more rapidly in plots dominated by Eragrostis than in bare plots. Near-surface soil temperatures are apparently too high for establishment of Prosopis seedlings in June prior to the onset of summer rains. Eragrostis may further prevent successful Prosopis establishment by shortening the period over which moisture and soil temperatures are suitable for germination and survival of Prosopis seedlings following a pulse of summer rain.

Keywords: long-term research, livestock grazing, vegetation, soils, erosion, cultural resources

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English, Nathan B.; Williams, David G.; Weltzin, Jake F. 2003. Soil temperature and moisture dynamics after experimental irrigation on two contrasting soils on the Santa Rita Experimental Range: Implications for mesquite establishment. In: McClaran, Mitchel P.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Edminster, Carleton B., tech. coords. Santa Rita Experimental Range: 100 years (1903 to 2003) of accomplishments and contributions; conference proceedings; 2003 October 30-November 1; Tucson, AZ. Proc. RMRS-P-30. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 188-192.

 


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