Only grass plugs were planted on May 21, 1997 outside of the Findlay Exclosure. Six rows each 40 m. long were set out in a north-south direction to the west of the exclosure. The first two rows were planted at one half meter intervals. The remaining four rows were planted at one meter intervals. Row 1, was nearest the fence.
Row 1. – 80 plugs @ ½ m. spacing.
Row 2. – 80 plugs @ ½ m. spacing.
Row 3. – 40 plugs @ ½ m. spacing.
Row 4. – 40 plugs @ ½ m. spacing.
Row 5. – 40 plugs @ ½ m. spacing.
Row 6. – 40 plugs @ ½ m. spacing.
This arrangement was put in place so that the grass plugs in the first two rows would take the brunt of the prevailing winds and shelter the remaining plants.
Survival was as follows:
Row 1. – 21.3% (17/80 plants).
Row 2. – 38.8% (31/80 plants).
Row 3. – 67.5% (27/40 plants).
Row 4. – 37.5 % (15/40 plants).
Row 5. – 77.5% (31/40 plants).
Row 6. – 57.5% (23/40 plants).
The area outside of the exclosure was grazed by livestock from June 24 to July 1, 1997.
There are numerous guesses as to why the survival rates were lower outside than inside the exclosure. Possible reasons for the lower survival rate were:
- Livestock trampling was a factor since all the stakes marking the plot were knocked down and the orchard grass in the area was heavily grazed.
- Planting variability (depth, compaction) is most likely a factor as well. Row 2 had most of the crowns of the plugs above the ground. It will be interesting to note how well these plugs survive the winter versus the ones that were planted deeper.
- As storage time increased, viability may have decreased. These plugs were stored 13 days longer than the ones planted in the exclosure. By this time, some of the plugs were showing signs of mildew at the base of their stems and may have not been able to recover. As well, in many cases, only one individual survived out of a plug, while the other three or four stems died.