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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Effectiveness of fire, disking, and herbicide to renovate tall fescue fields to northern bobwhite habitat
Year: 2001
Author(s): Madison, L. A., Barnes, T. G., Sole, J. D.
Source Title: Wildlife Society Bulletin
Source Type: Journal
pages: 706-712
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Fields dominated by tail fescue (Festuca arundinacea) are common throughout the southeastern United States and are poor habitat for northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), Our study examined effectiveness of controlled burning, disking, and Round-Up(TM) herbicide applications to improve bobwhite habitat in fescue-dominated fields. We conducted the study on 4 Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). On each WMA we divided a field into 16 0.1-ha plots, and at each field we randomly assigned 2 plots to the following treatments: control, fall burning, fall disking, spring burning, spring disking, spring herbicide application, summer burning, or summer disking. We measured the vegetation structure, seed production, and floristic composition within each treatment plot from fall 1990 to summer 1994. The spring herbicide application most effectively reduced tall fescue coverage. Fescue coverage was reduced for one year following disturbance by fall, spring, and summer disking, but had become similar to control plots and pre-treatment conditions by the second year post-treatment. Fall, spring, and summer burning did not reduce tall fescue coverage. Fall-disked plots improved habitat for bobwhite winter feeding during winter 1993, whereas herbicide-treated plots provided the best winter feeding habitat during winter 1994, Herbicide-treated plots provided the best habitat quality for bobwhite nesting in summer 1993, but no treatment satisfied nesting habitat requirements in summer 1994.