Experimental Treatments For The Control Of Wiregrass And Saltmarsh Grass In A Brackish Marsh

During the period from January, 1965 to June 1970 a study was conducted in the Price Lake area of Rockefeller Refuge, Grand Chenier, Louisiana. The objectives were to measure and evaluate the results from a series of treatments designed to alter natural plant succession and improve the vegetative composition for wildlife. Experimental plots were treated in the spring and late fall, 1965. Treatments included burning, tilling, chemicals and combinations of burning, tilling, and chemicals. Sampling data for 1970 (five years following initial treatment) showed that (a) tilling, (b) burning and tilling, and (c) burning, tilling, and chemicals were most effective in reducing the growth of undesirable vegetation and promoting the growth of a more desirable species, widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima). Reinvasion by widgeongrass varied from a high of 48 percent coverage to a low of three percent for the plots which received one of the three treatments named above. Reinvasion by desirable species of Scirpus was nil after a five-year period. Chemicals and combinations of burning and chemicals gave good short term kills; however, after a one-year period the percent kill dropped off appreciably. Fire breaks constructed by the rotary tiller were sufficient in containing all seven of the fires tested in this investigation. Water level fluctuations and water salinities were determined periodically from wells established in the study area.

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