Quantcast native grass roots

Sponsors



Author Topic: native grass roots  (Read 5069 times)

Online knabe

  • National Champion Poster
  • **********
  • Posts: 13483
  • Karma 4
    • View Profile
native grass roots
« on: September 15, 2013, 12:06:19 PM »
been putting some drainage pipe where i planted some native perennial grass, purple needle grass (the state grass on the flag) a while ago.  the native grass roots go at least 2 feet down, way past where this root in the pic has broken off.  it takes a couple of years for this to occur.  the annual grasses have a root zone in the top 6 inches.  the darker root to the left is an oak tree root.  at the bottom of where i am digging, anywhere from 2-3 feet, the soil turns into a hard compacted clay that stays moist almost year round. above ground, the needle ground is dormant and the annuals of course completely dead of course with only seed on the ground for next year. the annuals spread by both seed and bunch. sorry the pic uploaded sideways.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 12:06:59 PM by knabe »
"The generation that told us to question authority, has now become the Authority we cannot question!"

Offline chambero

  • State Champion Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3207
  • Karma 207
    • View Profile
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 09:53:27 AM »
Kind of hard to have much erosion with roots like that. 

Online knabe

  • National Champion Poster
  • **********
  • Posts: 13483
  • Karma 4
    • View Profile
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 02:41:14 PM »
Kind of hard to have much erosion with roots like that.

that's actually a really good observation.  add in the bunch grass nature of natives, and their total removal by the 1900's, california hillsides have been suffering from sub erosion where soil underneath gets some water in it, and the hillside gives way, not to mention just increased soil erosion in general.  less soil erosion means less dredging, better microfiltration, a bunch of stuff that's good.

roots act as channels for the rain to drain into the soil in those first rains instead of pounding a dust covering that is a lot of california range land.

perrenials are also adapted to take advantage of early rains as opposed to annuals as the moisture can go to growth or staging for growth as opposed to germinating annual seeds and having them die due to a long time between rains in the early rainy season.

the grass that is green in the pic is the native needle grass that is green with only rainwater. in drier areas, it goes even more dormant appearing, ie the green is barely visible.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 02:43:35 PM by knabe »
"The generation that told us to question authority, has now become the Authority we cannot question!"

Offline chambero

  • State Champion Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3207
  • Karma 207
    • View Profile
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 03:52:07 PM »
I thought about saying something on the mudslide issue, but I suspect those types of grasses never grew in those areas (correct me if I'm wrong).  Looks like your photo is from deep clay soils, not the shallow, probably sandier, looser soils on your hillsides.

But when bad things like mudslides happen frequently, its usually because people screwed something up or built something somewhere it never should have been.  We've learned a lot of lessons or the dust bowl of the 30s would have probably repeated itself in the 50s and possibly even over the last couple of years.

Online knabe

  • National Champion Poster
  • **********
  • Posts: 13483
  • Karma 4
    • View Profile
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 09:59:17 PM »
native perrenials were all over the state.  they were essentially wiped out by annuals introduced by europeans.

the soils are called smectite or formally Montmorillonite, high in clay, sometimes mixed with decomposed granite.  i attached a hillslide pic of normal erosion when a water pocket builds up underneath and slips.

getting ranchers to adopt perrenials takes a little more convincing and is usually very difficult as it requires leaving a little more cover than they want.  the perrenial seeds are still there, they just need a little help and actually NO fertilizer as they have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria.
"The generation that told us to question authority, has now become the Authority we cannot question!"

Offline librarian

  • County Champion Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Karma 49
    • View Profile
    • puregrassbeef.com
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 07:57:11 PM »
I have been thinking about this post and read this information about prairie grasses and grazing.  As I understand it, mob grazing creates and environment conducive to the existence of microbial soil activity by shading and cooling the ground surface with bent over and trampled grasses.  But the long roots are a strategy for drawing nutrients from deep beneath the soil surface, so perhaps the benefit of mobbing is more to prevent the destruction of the top of the plant than to enrich the soil.
I don't mob graze, but I really like the idea of native ecosystem restoration. 
an excerpt:

http://prairieecologist.com/2011/11/28/a-skeptical-look-at-mob-grazing/

Impacts on Soil Organic Matter

Returning to the purported benefits of mob grazing, lets look at soil organic matter first.  While there are various explanations of how mob grazing affects organic matter in the soil, the general idea seems to be that mob grazing cattle eat about 60 percent of the standing vegetation and stomp the remaining 40 percent into the soil.  Thus, soil organic matter increases and becomes more productive.  This has never jived with my understanding of soil organic matter (soil carbon) production, so I checked with four prominent scientists around the country who study soil nutrient cycling, including soil carbon.  When I asked them if the claims from mob grazing advocates made sense, their response was unanimous and strikingly blunt.  To quote one of them, Thats totally bogus.

In reality, soil organic matter is formed mainly by below ground processes, including root decomposition, root exudates, and mycorrhizal carbon inputs.  In prairies, a substantial percentage of plant roots are abandoned to decompose each year and replaced with new roots.  Those old roots provide organic matter in abundance, and more importantly, that organic matter becomes a stable part of the soil profile and is added to and enhanced by the other two processes listed above.  My panel of experts said that stomping vegetation into the soil might provide a slight and temporary increase in organic matter near the soil surface, but that it would be unstable and wouldnt last long.  Its the stable supply of organic matter deeper in the soil profile that actually drives plant productivity, and that supply comes from plant roots themselves.  In fact, the experts suggested that the kind of vegetation stomping I asked them about was likely to have fairly negative consequences.  They thought that soil compaction and disruption of soil structure as a result from heavy trampling would probably decrease -not increase - plant productivity.  None of this means soil organic matter cant increase under mob grazing, but any increase would be due to the same below ground processes listed above.
'Those who do not understand the old will not understand the new'. -farmers quote

Online knabe

  • National Champion Poster
  • **********
  • Posts: 13483
  • Karma 4
    • View Profile
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 11:47:57 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slope_stability

I remember studying this in college.

It was thought at the time that perrenials would reduce the submoisture load by removing water throuhgout a deeper cross section of soil.  roots up to 20 feet can occur in perrenials, extending the growing season. They are slower growing, but accumulate more dry matter than annuals on an annual basis once established. Most peoducers will not like the time out of production to get stands going.
"The generation that told us to question authority, has now become the Authority we cannot question!"

Offline AAOK

  • Forum Moderator
  • National Champion Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 5264
  • Karma 162
    • View Profile
    • Asklund Acres
Re: native grass roots
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 07:45:44 PM »

I really liked their music; still do!

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
93 Replies
52309 Views
Last post May 13, 2016, 11:20:55 PM
by knabe
30 Replies
10837 Views
Last post May 20, 2008, 08:26:42 PM
by aj
3 Replies
4032 Views
Last post December 08, 2010, 04:06:12 PM
by cebwtx
12 Replies
5838 Views
Last post October 31, 2016, 06:40:23 PM
by Cabanha Santa Isabel - BR
6 Replies
4038 Views
Last post June 04, 2017, 02:52:38 PM
by woodyc

Powered by EzPortal

SteerPlanet Designed Websites

SteerPlanet Designed Websites

Steer Planet Classifieds & Auctions

Breeder Directory