Restoration of threadleaf sedge Carex filifolia by plug-planting at Scotts Bluff National Monument National Park, Nebraska, USA

  • Published source details Tunnell S.J. & Stubbendieck J. (2005) Restoration of threadleaf sedge. Report submitted to Scotts Bluff National Monument National Park Service, July 2005. Dept. of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA (added by: Showler D.A. 2010).


Threadleaf sedge Carex filifolia is a main component of native prairie vegetation at Scotts Bluff National Monument (SCBL) in Nebraska, central USA. Threadleaf sedge transplants are required for restoration because seeding methods have not been developed and sufficient seed is unavailable.

Experiments were conducted in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 to assess greenhouse growth and field survival of transplanted threadleaf sedge as influenced by soil fertility.
Small sods of threadleaf sedge were collected at SCBL in early November 2002 and 2003. At the University of Nebraska, these were divided and over 7,000 individual plants planted into plastic cells (3.8 cm diameter, 20 cm depth) containing a loamy soil-sand mix. In the greenhouse, a subsample was treated with one of four rates of fertilizer: 1) no fertilizer (control), 2) 20 ppm NPK, 3) 40 ppm NPK, and 4) 60 ppm NPK. Prior to treatment application, plants were clipped to 2.5 cm height.
After six months growth in the greenhouse, sedge plants were transplanted at two restoration sites at SCBL in 6 x 6 m plots using a randomized block design (four blocks). Survival was monitored at six and 12 months subsequent to planting out.

In the greenhouse, fertilizer application resulted in significantly increased aboveground and belowground biomass of sedge plants. Greatest increases occurred with the 60 ppm NPK treatment (e.g. in 2003, average aboveground biomass 0.253 g and belowground boimass1.165 g; compared with the control, 0.202 g and 0.931g respectively).

There was no significant difference in field survival among the fertilizer treatments (range 79-88% survival in 2003; 22-33% in 2004), thus fertilizer application in the greenhouse did not enhance subsequent survival after planting out. In 2003, 12-month threadleaf sedge survival averaged 82%, and in 2004, 29%. In 2004, the reduced survival was attributed to greater herbivory, drier growing conditions, increased competition from annual weedsand greater soil disturbance due to pocket gopher Geomys bursarius activity.
Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper, this can be viewed at:

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust