Dr. Robin O'Quinn
Every spring, Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt.) dots the landscape across the inland Pacific Northwest. Balsamroot’s copious blooms, numerous leaves, long lifespan, and resilience once established, make it popular in restoration seed mixes, although balsamroot displays erratic germination in the restoration context. Understanding the effects of variables, like the availability of soil moisture on the germination and establishment of balsamroot, could provide insights into the successes of restoration plantings, or planning. This study examines the relationship between soil moisture availability and balsamroot establishment, tracking growth and survival of balsamroot seedlings during their first season, across a range of soil moisture treatments. Results are providing insight into soil moisture’s role into balsamroot establishment. Seedling emergence data suggests soil moisture is critical in the first few weeks of a seedling’s life. Over the first treatment period, more plants emerged in high moisture treatments than low, and both were significantly different than the medium groups (P= 0.00462 and 2.09e-06. respectively). Further data analysis will parse the effects of higher or lower moisture on the timing of first leaf emergence, plant health, leaf area, and root biomass. These analyses will answer whether it is only the first few weeks where more or less soil moisture matters and whether what happens in the first few weeks of a balsamroot’s life sets the stage for how it grows throughout the season. This information will also be used to make inferences regarding what this means for balsamroot in restoration projects or under changing climatic conditions.
Hill, Sarah E., "Effect of Soil Moisture on Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt. Establishment" (2020). 2020 Symposium Posters. 32.
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