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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Mowing as an alternative to spring burning for control of cool-season exotic grasses in prairie grass plantings
Year: 1986
Author(s): Diboll, N.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Ninth North American Prairie Conference
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 204-209
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: The effects of spring mowing and burning were compared with an undisturbed control in a seven year old planting of five warm season grasses: big bluestem, little bluestem, side oats grama, switchgrass, and indiangrass. Cool season grasses present were quackgrass, meadow fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. Biomass clippings were taken on each treatment twice during the growing season on July 2-3 and August 20-22. Frequency studies were conducted on each treatment in autumn. Burning reduced total cool season grass production an average of 78% for both clipping dates, compared to the control. Mowing averaged 48% reduction. Burned and mowed treatments exhibited significantly lower cool season grass production than control for the July clipping. Total warm season grass production was 42% higher and 12% higher for the mow and burn respectively for the July clipping. By late August, warm season grass biomass was highest on the burn and lowest on the mow. The differences found in warm season grass production between treatments were not significant for either treatment date. Frequency of big bluestem was higher on the burned than on the mowed or control plot. Little bluestem and side oats grama were more frequent on both the mowed and burned plots when compared to the control. Frequency of cool season grasses did not differ between treatments, except quackgrass was significantly less frequent in the burned plot. Quackgrass biomass was significantly lower on burned and mowed plots for the July clipping period compared to the control. Four broadleaf weeds and one annual grass occured at higher levels on the burned treatment, but were a minor component of production.