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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Long-term effects of annual burning at different dates in ungrazed kansas tallgrass prairie
Year: 1984
Author(s): Towne, G., Owensby, C.
Source Title: Journal of Range Management
Source Type: Journal
pages: 392-397
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Ungrazed tallgrass prairie plots in the Kansas Flint Hills have been burned annually at 4 different dates since 1928. Time of burning markedly altered the physiognomy and was the crucial factor effecting vegetation change. Late-spring burning, coinciding with emergence of the warm-season perennial grasses, increased grass production and favored Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans. Burning in winter, early-spring, or mid-spring reduced herbage production and shifted vegetational composition by differentially favoring other species. Andropogon scoparius increased with mid- and early-spring burning, while perennial forbs and sedges increased with early-spring and winter burning. Amorpha canescens was favored by all burning treatments. Mulch buildup in unburned, undisturbed plots increased Poa pratensis and tree species and eventually reduced grass production. The long-term effects of annual late-spring burning, even in dry years, was not detrimental to herbage production, species composition, or total basal cover in tallgrass prairie.