Soil Comparison Study: Germination and growth of Artemisia tridentata

Elliott, Brittany
Artemisia tridentata, or big sagebrush, is a main component in the prairie ecosystem; it provides sustenance and sanctuary for countless species throughout western North America. Human impacts such as the extraction of crude oil, natural gas, and coal mining have been proven harmful to local populations of sagebrush. Due to difficulties in successful reclamation, sagebrush restoration has been the focus of many recent studies. This study investigates sagebrush germination and growth with respect to soil types. We focused on two aspects; rate of germination and growth rate under stabilized conditions in a growth chamber and varying conditions in a greenhouse. Using statistical analysis of variance, we were able to determine rate of germination and make comparisons among three soil types: clay loam soil, loam soil, and standard potting soil which was used as a control. Soil texture was also studied using four levels of clay loam and sand mixtures. Germination rates were recorded on an on-going basis and growth rates were recorded at the end of the nine week study. This study highlights the importance of soil composition to the success of big sagebrush.
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