PREP Publications

Abstract

Five classes in a local elementary school participated in an effort to grow and plant high marsh and upper border vegetation at a salt marsh restoration site in spring 2005. Seeds of six marsh upper edge species were successfully germinated and grown into seedlings by third graders. The seedlings were planted by the students in late spring 2005, but only switchgrass and quackgrass plants appeared to have established and survived after one year. Mature shoots of three high marsh species planted by the third graders (salt hay, salt grass and black grass) established successfully and continue to proliferate. In addition, we assessed an experiment of cordgrass plantings performed by community volunteers in 2002. The experiment was designed to test the effectiveness of three planting techniques at a salt marsh restored by the excavation of old dredge spoil that had been colonized by common reed. After four growing seasons, Plug, Bare Root Shoot, and Seed Head planting techniques exhibited greater cover of cordgrass and total cover of vascular plants when compared with unplanted areas. Cover of perennial plants (e.g., cordgrass), which contributes directly to belowground soil development in salt marshes, dominated the planted plots. Cover of annual species dominated the unplanted plots. Planting cordgrass in areas where dredge spoils and common reed had been excavated from a historic marsh accelerated the development of native vegetation compared with unplanted areas. Performance and evaluation of the two sets of plantings has provided information about appropriate planting techniques for our region and has involved and educated the local community about the values of salt marsh to promote stewardship. Recommendations included the use of bare root shoot and seed head planting techniques where cordgrass is desired. Outside plots or a greenhouse may be needed for successful propagation of upper edge marsh species from seed, and a planting program that includes mature plants as well as seedlings is recommended to ensure success.

Publication Date

7-27-2006

Publisher

New Hampshire Estuaries Project

Document Type

Report

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