Reestablishing Roots of a Mohawk Community and a Culturally Significant : Sweetgrass Daniela J. Shebitz1,2 and Robin W. Kimmerer3

Abstract ryegrass resulted in reduced Sweetgrass growth and repro- The restoration potential of Sweetgrass ( duction. The results of this field experiment indicate that nitens (Weber) Y. Schouten & Veldkamp) was evaluated there is great restoration potential for Sweetgrass because it is easily transplanted and reproduces vigorously. For through a field experiment conducted on Kanatsiohareke, 2 a Mohawk farm, and at the LaFayette Experiment Station 2.25-m plots, Hairy vetch is an effective cover crop for near Syracuse, New York. The effects of competition re- Sweetgrass. Planting the Sweetgrass with Hairy vetch gen- duction and two cover crops on Sweetgrass reestablish- erated properties of the grass that are desired by basket- ment success were examined. Sweetgrass was planted makers, such as abundance and tall blades. This technique under four treatments: Sweetgrass alone; with existing, also allowed for a relatively non–labor intensive method old-field vegetation; with a cover crop of Hairy vetch of cultivation. Reestablishment of Sweetgrass offers the (Vicia villosa); and with a cover crop of Annual (Italian) members and visitors of Kanatsiohareke the means to ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). The experiment consisted continue to use the plant, strengthen traditional practices of five replicates of the four treatments at both LaFayette associated with Sweetgrass, and benefit economically by and Kanatsiohareke. Sweetgrass biomass, height, repro- selling baskets and medicine made with Sweetgrass. duction rate, and survivorship were greatest in plots that were weeded to eliminate competition and in plots with Key words: Anthoxanthum nitens, basketry, cover crops, Hairy vetch as a cover crop. A cover crop of Annual odorata, Iroquois, Sweetgrass.

Introduction Shebitz & Kimmerer 2004). Although it is most frequently The very identity of cultures, the traditions, and lifestyles used by indigenous people as a ceremonial smudge and of the people are often based on their use of . The incense or medicine (English 1982; Kavasch & Barr current decline in biological diversity will therefore invari- 1999), its predominant use among the Haudenosaunee ably influence cultures themselves (Minnis 2000). As such, (Ho-de-no-sau-nee), or the Iroquois Confederacy of the preservation of cultural diversity and biodiversity is in- Nations, is in basketry (Benedict 1983; Moerman 1998). extricably linked. For example, the grass prairies and sav- The study presented in this article was conducted with annas that once existed throughout the forest regions of members of the Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee the northeastern United States have historically been im- who are familiar with the use of Sweetgrass in basketry. portant sources of plant materials for native cultures. Tra- Haudenosaunee basket-making traditions have undergone ditions associated with these plant materials are now an evolution in form, purpose, and use, growing from early threatened, however, because many of these areas are now utilitarian forms to intricate, ornate baskets (Benedict mostly limited to waste areas, roadsides, railroad beds, and 1983; Lauersons 1996). Although members of all Haude- beach ridges in parks and nature preserves (Dickerson nosaunee Nations have historically produced baskets, it is et al. 1997). Restoring the land and plants that were a part predominately the Mohawks and some Seneca people of the ‘‘precontact’’ Northeast assists in the restoration of who continue the tradition today (Lauersons 1996). The the cultural identity of the people who lived off of that revenue generated from Sweetgrass baskets has, and con- land (Martinez 1993). tinues to, ‘‘put bread and butter on the table’’ (Benedict & Sweetgrass (Anthoxanthum nitens (Weber) Y. Schouten David 2000) because people either make a living or sup- & Veldkamp [¼Hierochloe odorata (L.) P. Beauv]) is one plement their income by selling their crafts (Lauersons example of a culturally significant plant that is reportedly 1996; Benedict & David 2000). declining in traditional gathering sites (Lauersons 1996; One location in which Sweetgrass baskets are currently sold is on a Mohawk farm, approximately 50 miles west of Albany, New York. The efforts of the farming community, 1 College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98103, U.S.A. known as Kanatsiohareke (Ga no jo ha lay:gay), are dedi- 2 Address correspondence to D. J. Shebitz, email [email protected] cated to the revitalization of their culture and economy. 3 Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, College of Environmental Although Kanatsiohareke offers the opportunity for Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY 13210, U.S.A. Haudenosaunee from throughout New York to sell their Ó 2005 Society for Ecological Restoration International crafts, there is little opportunity for baskets to be made

JUNE 2005 Restoration Ecology Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 257–264 257 Reestablishing a Community and Sweetgrass on the premises due to the absence of the required plants. The hypotheses tested in this study are as follows: The goal of Thomas Porter, the Director of Kanatsioha- reke, is to reintroduce plants that have always played a signif- (1) Sweetgrass can be successfully transplanted for icant role in the Mohawk lifestyle in order to restore the restoration. cultural values and traditions that are associated with those (2) Sweetgrass survival and rates of reproduction and plants. Traditional crafts made from locally grown plants can growth are dependent upon the level of competition. strengthen the community both by preserving traditional art (3) Sweetgrass survival and rates of reproduction and forms, such as basketry, and by providing a means of income. growth are influenced by the presence of cover crops. Growing culturally significant plants on the premises also helps the community financially by reducing the expenses required to travel to obtain resources (T. Porter 2001, Direc- tor Kanatsiohareke, personal communication). Methods In recent interviews, Haudenosaunee basketmakers and A field experiment was designed to determine if Sweet- herbalists who use Sweetgrass in their medicine shared grass could be reintroduced successfully at Kanatsiohareke their belief that Sweetgrass once grew along the Mohawk and to evaluate the effect of competitors on its growth and River valley near what is now Kanatsiohareke (Shebitz reproduction in garden-sized plots. Sweetgrass was also 2001). Today, the closest area to Kanatsiohareke from grown in combination with Annual ryegrass (Lolium mul- which Sweetgrass is harvested in large quantities is near tiflorum) and Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) to assess the use the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, located on the border of cover crops in alleviating competition. The experiment of northern New York (near Massena) and Canada, was replicated at the LaFayette Experiment Station near approximately 325 km from Kanatsiohareke. Although Syracuse, New York. Sweetgrass occurs naturally at Akwesasne and the sur- rounding areas, it is becoming more difficult to locate, and gatherers believe that its population is declining (Lauersons Description of Species: Sweetgrass, Anthoxanthum Nitens 1996). There is a concern among Haudenosaunee basket- (Weber) Y. Schouten & Veldkamp makers and herbalists that the decline in Sweetgrass is Sweetgrass is a perennial grass that occurs in a wide variety due to competition with non-native plants (Shebitz 2001). of habitats including moist meadows, riverbanks, forest Because the resources are becoming increasingly inacces- edges, low prairies, wetlands, shorelines, roadsides, and sible, basketry traditions are threatened. The continuance other disturbed areas (Walsh 1994; Lynch & Lupfer 1995; of cultural traditions is dependent upon access to plant Small & Catling 1999). It is a midsuccessional species, typi- resources. If the materials that are essential to customs cally found among other grasses, herbs, or shrubs and cannot be obtained, the tradition may die (Martinez 1992; rarely occurs in pure stands (Small & Catling 1999; Greene Anderson 1996). 2000; Winslow 2000). The species requires partial to full Small and Catling (1999) propose that ‘‘there is poten- sunlight and therefore is not common in areas that have tial for increased cultivation of sweet grass in support of a dense canopy (Lynch & Lupfer 1995). It generally grows native culture and handicraft production .’’ (71). For the in soil with a pH between 5.7 and 7.4 (USDA NRCS 1999). Mohawks of Kanatsiohareke, growing Sweetgrass on the Reproduction in Sweetgrass primarily occurs vegeta- farm would reintroduce not only its beauty and heritage tively, through its numerous slender rhizomes from which (Dickerson et al. 1997) to the Mohawk Valley but also shallow roots arise (Lynch & Lupfer 1995; Small & give the community the means to continue to use the Catling 1999; Greene 2000). Sexual reproduction is rare in plant, strengthen traditional practices associated with this species because fewer than 5% of the fresh seeds are Sweetgrass, and benefit economically by selling baskets. fertile (Lynch & Lupfer 1995). Sweetgrass propagation is accomplished through the separation of the rhizomes of an adult plant followed by the planting of the tillers indi- Objectives and Hypotheses vidually (Greene 2000; Winslow 2000). Its rapid vegetative This project is intended to evaluate methods to reintroduce reproduction and growth rates may assist in Sweetgrass Sweetgrass to Kanatsiohareke so that traditions associated restoration efforts. A 2.5-cm plug may develop into with the species will endure through basket-making classes a dense 0.93-m2 mass in just 1 year and cover over 4.65 m2 and social Sweetgrass harvesting and basket-making ses- in 2 years (Small & Catling 1999). sions. In addition, determining an effective method of growing Sweetgrass will likely enable others to establish Sweetgrass gardens near their homes. History of the Study Area This project has two main objectives: Prior to European contact, the Mohawks inhabited an area of the Mohawk Valley in eastern New York State (1) To assess the restoration potential of Sweetgrass. (Grassman 1969). During the late 1700s, the Haudenosau- (2) To evaluate the effects of four reestablishment methods nee were forced to relocate to western New York and on the success of Sweetgrass. Canada (Herrick 1995). In 1993, with the purchase of

258 Restoration Ecology JUNE 2005 Reestablishing a Community and Sweetgrass

130 ha (322 acres) of land along the Mohawk River in Table 1. The plant species that dominated the plots where Sweet- eastern New York, Kanatsiohareke was established to ‘‘. grass was planted into existing old-field vegetation at both LaFayette start a new home on old soils’’ (T. Porter 2001, Director and Kanatsiohareke. Kanatsiohareke, personal communication). Located in Dominant Species Dominant Species Fonda, New York, north of the Mohawk River, Kanatsio- at LaFayette at Kanatsiohareke hareke consists predominately of mixed-hardwood forest and agricultural fields. Agropyron repens* (G) Agropyron repens* (G) In an address entitled ‘‘The Hau de no sau nee Message Panicum virgatum (G) Bromus inermis* (G) Erigeron strigosus (F) Panicum capillare (G) to the Western World,’’ it is written, ‘‘Our roots are deep Galium palustre (F) Phalaris arundinacea (G) . in the lands where we live Each of us were created in Plantago lanceolata* (F) Phleum pratense* (G) those lands, and it is our duty to take great care of Poa pratensis (G) them .’’ (Akwesasne Notes 1978, 72). Thomas Porter ex- Setaria faberi* (G) plained that Kanatsiohareke is a means to reestablish cul- Setaria viridis* (G) tural roots on land from which the Mohawk ancestors were Erigeron strigosus (F) driven over two centuries ago. During summer months, G ¼ grass; F ¼ forb. approximately 50 people reside and work on Kanatsioha- *Exotic species. reke. People from all six Haudenosaunee Nations are affiliated with the farm and consider it to be ‘‘a source of hope’’ (T. Porter 2001, Director Kanatsiohareke, per- Cover crops were selected for their annual life cycles sonal communication). It is here that the experimental and characteristics of effective weed suppression and efforts to establish Sweetgrass are centered, to reestab- enhanced growth. Hairy vetch is a nitrogen fixer that has lish a missing link between the land and culture. been shown to enhance grass growth in legume–grass bicul- tures and is not persistent once introduced (Mwaja & Research Sites Masiunas 1996; Ranells & Wagger 1997; Batte et al. 1998; Brandsaeter et al. 2000). Annual ryegrass is another com- The experiments were established on a floodplain of the monly used cover crop that has a high yield potential, is fast Mohawk River at Kanatsiohareke (lat 42°95950$N, long growing, and can be easily established in an area (Tracy 272°43934$W) and at the State University of New York 1919; Hitchcock 1935; Hannaway et al. 1999). This species, College of Environmental Science, and Forestry’s LaFay- however, may be a threat in areas where native biodiversity ette Experiment Station near Syracuse, New York (lat is of concern because it is often persistent in an area once 42°59921$N, long 276°7949$W). The particular location at introduced. In fact, it is one of the few grasses that will pro- Kanatsiohareke chosen for the experiment was indicated duce a crop the same season it is sown (Tracy 1919). by Mohawk members of the community as an area that historically had Sweetgrass and is similar in structure and composition to other Sweetgrass-harvesting areas. Experimental Design The Sweetgrass used in the experiment was cultivated Sweetgrass from nursery stock was transplanted into five in a nursery bed at the LaFayette Experiment Station. replicate plots of each of the four treatments, for a total of The original source was 100 individual tillers from north- 20 plots at both LaFayette and Kanatsiohareke. Trans- ern New York State, purchased from the Redwood City plants were standardized to a uniform size consisting of Nursery (Redwood City, CA, U.S.A.) in 1997. Three years one to three culms and two rhizomes, with a cumulative after planting the original tillers, the plant population had length not exceeding 15 cm. Experimental plots measured multiplied profusely so that it could supply the 1,960 tillers 2.25 m2 in area and were placed 1 m apart. Transplants that were used in the experiment. were planted in seven rows of seven in each plot, with The existing vegetation at both LaFayette and 18 cm between plants. Transplants were permanently Kanatsiohareke is old-field vegetation dominated by non- tagged to permit monitoring of growth and survival. All native grasses. Table 1 lists the dominant species at both plots were tilled in May 2000 to remove existing vegeta- sites. tion prior to planting Sweetgrass, with the exception of the treatment with existing old-field vegetation. Experimental Treatments As recommended by seed companies and the farmers at The field experiment was designed to evaluate Sweetgrass Kanatsiohareke, annual rye was sown at a density of 60 success under four conditions of associated vegetation: seeds per Sweetgrass plug, equaling approximately 2,940 seeds per 2.25-m2 plot. The Hairy vetch was sown at the (1) Sweetgrass alone; same density but was thinned to 10 individuals per Sweet- (2) Sweetgrass with existing, old-field vegetation; grass plug, approximately 490 plants per 2.25-m2 plot. The (3) Sweetgrass with a cover crop of Hairy vetch; and seeds of Hairy vetch were mixed with water and a pea/ (4) Sweetgrass with a cover crop of Annual (Italian) vetch inoculant by the name of ‘‘Nitragin’’ (Nitragin, Inc., ryegrass. Brookfield, WI, U.S.A.) prior to their dispersal to

JUNE 2005 Restoration Ecology 259 Reestablishing a Community and Sweetgrass promote maximum nitrogen fixation ability. Weeding of Table 2. Comparisons of mean soil characteristics at LaFayette and the Sweetgrass monoculture treatment occurred weekly Kanatsiohareke. through 15 September 2000. The treatments were not Site % Sand % Silt % Clay Soil pH watered throughout the course of the experiment. Kanatsiohareke 82.9B* 11.6A* 5.5A* 7.5A* LaFayette 88.8A* 6.4B* 4.8B* 6.8B* Data Collection Means with the same letter within the same column are not significantly The field experiment was conducted between late May different. and mid-September 2000 and continued in May and early *Values are significant at a ¼ 0.05. June 2001. The density of Sweetgrass tillers in each plot was recorded monthly in July, August, and September The majority of the Sweetgrass transplanted to both 2000. At the conclusion of the field season, survival and Kanatsiohareke (86.5%) and LaFayette (70.2%) survived growth of the Sweetgrass were measured to determine the through the first growing season, and Sweetgrass persisted success of the treatments. Measurements of Sweetgrass in all plots 1 year following its establishment. Sweetgrass aboveground dry biomass, number of tillers per plot, per- survival was statistically greatest in the Hairy vetch plots cent survivorship, and height were calculated. Height was and the manually weeded plots at both Kanatsiohareke determined from the measurement of five randomly (F[3,16] ¼ 5.90, p ¼ 0.0065) and LaFayette (F[3,16] ¼ 45.41, selected Sweetgrass blades in each of the 20 plots. The p < 0.0001). Its population within an experimental treat- numbered markers that were initially planted with each ment plot increased by as much as four times the original plug allowed us to determine percent survivorship of origi- amount during the first growing season and by as much as nal Sweetgrass transplants. Biomass was sampled from 20 times the original amount after 1 year. Sweetgrass tiller a square 0.25-m2 quadrat placed in a random location density continued to increase even after weeding ceased within each plot. The Sweetgrass within this quadrat was in the plots in which competition was manually controlled. cut at the base at ground level and dried at 26.7°C for The results of the ANOVA conducted on the inter- 1 week prior to weighing. actions between the site and experimental treatments for Fifteen soil samples were taken at random locations Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette are shown in Table 3. The from the experimental treatment sites in both LaFayette average Sweetgrass height, total number of tillers, and per- and Kanatsiohareke. A standard amount of soil was taken centage of survivors collected from both locations at the at a depth of 0–7 cm and a maximum width of 5.5 cm. Soil end of one growing season (June–September 2000) were texture was determined for each of the 30 samples accord- statistically higher in Kanatsiohareke than in LaFayette. ing to standard hydrometer methods (Wilde et al. 1972). The site–treatment interaction was not significant at the Sampling of Sweetgrass height and density was con- a ¼ 0.05 level. ducted in May of the following year to assess Sweetgrass ANOVA results indicate that the level of vegetative success 1 year after planting. No additional treatment competition and the cover crops Hairy vetch and Annual (weeding or cover crop sowing) was applied during the ryegrass do indeed influence the growth and reproduction second growing season. of Sweetgrass. The results of the ANOVA conducted on Sweetgrass growth and reproduction after one growing season (June–September 2000) in both Kanatsiohareke Data Analysis and LaFayette are shown in Figures 1–4. In order to compare Sweetgrass performance between Figure 1 illustrates that the plots weeded weekly to elim- treatments, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed inate competition and those planted with Hairy vetch on the data using the SAS statistical program (version 7.0) yielded the highest mean aboveground, dry Sweetgrass bio- PROC GLM command (SAS Institute, Inc. 1990). Tukey’s mass (g) at both Kanatsiohareke (F[3,16] ¼ 27.55, p < method of grouping was employed to distinguish between 0.0001) and LaFayette (F[3,16] ¼ 17.81, p < 0.0001). At significantly different treatments. Changes in growth and Kanatsiohareke, Sweetgrass height was greatest in the plots survival of Sweetgrass were analyzed by treatment for both with vetch and in the absence of competition (F[3,16] ¼ 8.78, Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette independently. Analysis on p ¼ 0.0011). In plots at LaFayette, Sweetgrass height was the sites’ soil characteristics was also conducted. greatest in the plots with vetch and in the plots with the intact old-field vegetation (F[3,16] ¼ 18.60, p < 0.0001). Table 4 compares the density and height of Sweetgrass tillers in June 2001, 1 year after the establishment of the Results treatments between sites. These measurements, taken at Kanatsiohareke and the LaFayette Experiment Station the beginning of the growing season, are appropriately differ significantly (a ¼ 0.05) in soil texture and pH lower than the heights recorded from the end of the previ- (Table 2). Soils at Kanatsiohareke had a lower percentage ous growing season (Fig. 2). of sand and higher percentage of silt and clay than those After 1 year, Sweetgrass density in Kanatsiohareke was at site at the LaFayette Experiment Station. not statistically different in the plots with vetch and in the

260 Restoration Ecology JUNE 2005 Reestablishing a Community and Sweetgrass

Table 3. Means for the overall growth and survival of Sweetgrass at Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette after first growing season.

Average Biomass Average June No. of sg Site % Change (g/0.25 m2) Height (cm) Tillers/2.25 m2 % Survivors

Kanatsiohareke 132 12.6A 62.5A* 113.9A* 86.5A* LaFayette 82 10.6A 50.7B* 89.4B* 70.2B*

Tukey’s method of grouping at a ¼ 0.05. Means with the same letter within the same column are not significantly different. sg ¼ Sweetgrass. *Value is significant at a ¼ 0.05 for the site and treatment interaction.

plots that were weeded (F[3,16] ¼ 57.47, p < 0.0001). In La- ment of Sweetgrass at both Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette Fayette, the Sweetgrass reproduction was highest in the indicates that its restoration potential is not limited to one vetch plots, with an average of 993 Sweetgrass tillers per soil type. Although we only replicated this study in two 2 2.25 m (F[3,16] ¼ 44.08, p < 0.0001). According to Tukey’s locations, the ability of Sweetgrass to establish in various method of grouping, plots sown with annual rye were in soil types is supported by the occurrence of the species in the group with the lowest mean Sweetgrass biomass, a wide range of systems throughout the northeastern height, reproduction, and survivorship. United States (Shebitz & Kimmerer 2004). A year after Sweetgrass was planted in the experimen- This study effectively evaluated the effects of four rees- tal treatments, the effect of Hairy vetch was evident tablishment methods for Sweetgrass. As hypothesized, through the low abundance of competitive weeds, Sweetgrass survival, reproduction, and growth are indeed although the vetch itself was no longer present. Annual influenced by the level of competition and the presence of rye, however, persisted during the second growing season. cover crops. At LaFayette, the average density of annual rye was 674 There are several benefits of incorporating cover crops tillers per 2.25 m2, 48 times more than the density of in a management system, one of which is weed suppres- Sweetgrass in those plots, which was 14 tillers per 2.25 m2. sion (Brandsaeter et al. 2000). An additional benefit is that 2 The average height of annual rye was 89.6 cm, four times annual cover crops significantly reduce NO3 leaching dur- that of Sweetgrass, which had an average height of 22.6 cm. ing the winter and spring and/or provide for the nitrogen At Kanatsiohareke, the density and height of annual rye (N) demands for subsequent crop growth (Rosecrance were not as extreme. It persisted in the treatments at et al. 2000). Grasses have been shown to significantly a density of 68.6 tillers per 2.25 m2, whereas Sweetgrass’ reduce N leaching but generally provide limited N for crop density was 2.2 times greater, at 150.6 tillers per 2.25 m2. growth (Ebelhar et al. 1984; Hargrove 1986; Rosecrance Annual rye at Kanatsiohareke had an average height of et al. 2000). Legumes can fix and supply substantial 41.4 cm, whereas Sweetgrass measured 28.2 cm in height. amounts of nitrogen but have minimal ability to reduce N leaching during the winter and spring (Rosecrance et al. 2000). Grass–legume bicultures, as established with the Discussion Hairy vetch and Sweetgrass treatment in the study pre- sented in this article, are believed to combine the N- Effects of Treatments scavenging ability of grasses and the biological N2 fixation Through this study we found that, as hypothesized, the capacity of legumes. This relationship improves N man- species can be transplanted successfully and there is agement in plant production (Ranells & Wagger 1997). indeed restoration potential for Sweetgrass. The establish- Table 4. Means for Sweetgrass growth at Kanatsiohareke and 30 A LaFayette experiment sites after 1 year, by experimental treatment. 25 A A A No. of sg Average 2

2 20 Site Treatment Tillers/2.25 m Height (cm) B Kanatsiohareke 15 Kanatsiohareke SG 481.6A* 26.2A* LaFayette VEG 27.8C* 36.2A* 10 AB A

(gm)/ 0.25m HV 353.2 * 39.0 * B B BC A 5 AR 150.6 * 28.2 * B LaFayette SG 642.2B* 38.4A* C A Average Sweetgrass Biomass 0 VEG 26.8 * 33.6 * AR HV SG VEG HV 993.0A* 40.4A* Experimental Treatments AR 14.0C* 19.2B*

Figure 1. Mean aboveground, dry Sweetgrass biomass (g) by Tukey’s method of grouping at a ¼ 0.05. SG ¼ no competition plots; VEG ¼ treatment in Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette after one growing vegetated plots; HV ¼ Hairy vetch plots; AR ¼ annual rye plots; and sg = Sweetgrass. Means with the same letter within the same column are not season. Standard error bars are shown. AR ¼ Annual ryegrass; significantly different. HV ¼ Hairy vetch; SG ¼ no competition; VEG ¼ full competition. *Value is significant at a ¼ 0.05.

JUNE 2005 Restoration Ecology 261 Reestablishing a Community and Sweetgrass

80 250 A 70 AB A B B A 60 A 200 50 B B A B A Kanatsiohareke 40 2 LaFayette 150 30 Kanatsiohareke 20 LaFayette 10 100 C

0 Tillers / 2.25m Mean Sweetgrass Height (cm) AR HV SG VEG Mean # Sweetgrass 50 C B Experimental Treatment B

Figure 2. Mean Sweetgrass height (cm) by treatment in 0 Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette after one growing season. Standard AR HV SG VEG error bars are shown. AR ¼ Annual ryegrass; HV ¼ Hairy vetch; Experimental Treatment SG ¼ no competition; VEG ¼ full competition. Figure 4. Mean number of Sweetgrass tillers per 2.25-m2 plot by treatment in Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette after one growing season. After one growing season, the plots with Hairy vetch as Standard error bars are shown. AR ¼ Annual ryegrass; HV ¼ Hairy a cover crop yielded Sweetgrass biomass, height, and survi- vetch; SG ¼ no competition; VEG ¼ plots with old-field vegetation. vors that exceeded that of other treatments. The high rates of Sweetgrass growth and survival in the plots with vetch etation was not found in the plots with old-field vegetation may be the result of both the weed suppression and the N2 of Kanatsiohareke in the summer of 2000. fixation capability of the legumes. In addition, the partial Sweetgrass sown with annual ryegrass generally had shade established by the presence of the Hairy vetch might lower survival and growth than those sown with Hairy have contributed to the increased Sweetgrass height. vetch. The high sowing density of annual rye could have Of particular interest to basketmakers, the increased contributed to this outcome. In addition, because rhizo- height and abundance of Sweetgrass in the plots with matous grasses have similar requirements for survival Hairy vetch contributes to its value as basketry material. and reproduction, the shared morphological character- The highest quality of basketry Sweetgrass ‘‘. may be as istics of Sweetgrass and annual rye may have heightened tall as one meter, and is bright green in color’’ (Shebitz competition. 2001, 92). The effects of Hairy vetch on Sweetgrass height The increased Sweetgrass biomass in plots that were and the minimal effort that is required to maintain plots weeded weekly and in those planted with Hairy vetch as with the cover crop suggest that basketmakers can benefit a cover crop is likely due primarily to Sweetgrass’ prolific from planting Sweetgrass with Hairy vetch. tillering when competition is limited. This study has shown The greater height of Sweetgrass in the plots with that in the absence of other plants, particularly grasses old-field vegetation at LaFayette in both 2000 and 2001 with similar growth forms, Sweetgrass can easily become compared to the other treatments may indicate that Sweet- established and reproduce vigorously. grass grows taller where there is some shade and where it therefore must compete for light. This relationship Management Suggestions between Sweetgrass height and the presence of other veg- The results of this study clearly indicate that Sweetgrass may be easily established in garden-size plots of 2.25 m2. 120 For plots of this size, Hairy vetch is an effective cover crop A A A A 100 AB for Sweetgrass. The fact that Hairy vetch was absent the year following its planting indicates that there is little con- 80 cern that it will persist in the environment in which it is B Kanatsiohareke introduced. That said, if native cover crops are available, 60 LaFayette we suggest incorporating them into restoration efforts in B 40 C lieu of non-natives such as Hairy vetch. The high density with which Annual ryegrass was sown 20 may be partially responsible for its failure to enhance

Percent Sweetgrass Survivors 0 Sweetgrass growth. Possibly sowing 20 rye seeds instead AR HV SG VEG of 60 in each 2.25-m2 plot may have increased the effi- Experimental Treatments ciency of annual rye as a cover crop. Controlling the abun- dance of Annual ryegrass proved to be a challenge in part Figure 3. Percentage of Sweetgrass survivors by treatment in Kanatsiohareke and LaFayette after one growing season. Standard because it greatly resembled Sweetgrass at the early stage error bars are shown. AR ¼ Annual ryegrass; HV ¼ Hairy vetch; of growth. Removing some of the grass or cutting it at SG ¼ no competition; VEG ¼ plots with old-field vegetation. ground level to lessen competition would have likely

262 Restoration Ecology JUNE 2005 Reestablishing a Community and Sweetgrass affected the Sweetgrass population because there was proper quantity and quality to be useful (Anderson 1996). a high potential for error. With the establishment of a sustainable supply of Sweet- The persistence of annual rye in the plots through the grass on Kanatsiohareke, there is potential to keep bas- second growing season indicates that it may have a con- ketry as a primary source of income. tinuing presence in the area unless it is managed. Annual Deloria (1996) stated, ‘‘American Indians hold their ryegrass was planted with the purpose of suppressing lands—places—as having the highest possible meaning, weeds during planting and initial growth. Its persistence and all their statements are made with this reference point is an undesirable characteristic for a cover crop. Not only in mind’’ (62). Kanatsiohareke is an example of a land may it result in reduced Sweetgrass growth and reproduc- with great significance. It serves as a place from which the tion but the continued growth of Annual ryegrass in the history of the Mohawk people has evolved, for which the site after 1 year is indicative of its potential risk to the community that currently resides there accepts responsi- native biodiversity. We do not encourage the use of bility. The lifestyles of the members of the community are Annual ryegrass as a cover crop when other annual plants, dependent upon the plants that are associated with tradi- particularly native species, are available. tional diet, ceremony, and crafts. By establishing Sweet- The low yield of Sweetgrass in the plots with old-field grass on the land, the opportunity to use the plant in the vegetation emphasizes the importance of clearing an area traditions of basketry, medicine, and ceremony continues. of land prior to planting the Sweetgrass, so that the Sweet- Although this research is focused on one species at grass tillers have the opportunity to become established a particular site of interest, it is intended for this project to without competition. The plots that were weeded weekly serve as a case study for future research that aims to had high Sweetgrass growth and reproduction, but the restore culturally significant plants. By collaborating with process of weeding the five plots required approximately indigenous people, there is great potential to gain an 3.5 hours per week at Kanatsiohareke and 1 hr per week understanding for the past structure of an area, to restore at LaFayette. The following year, however, because the the native biodiversity that historically characterized the Sweetgrass was abundant in the no-competition plots, system, and to strengthen cultural traditions that are it was not necessary to weed the area. There were few dependent upon the land. plants, other than Sweetgrass, that became established in the plots at the start of the second growing season. There- fore, weeding potential competitors from an area for the first growing season may provide an effective means to Acknowledgments cultivate Sweetgrass in garden-size plots. When attempt- Funding for this project was provided by the United States ing to establish a sustainable supply of Sweetgrass in a Department of Agriculture Fund for Rural America and large area, however, it would likely be less labor intensive the Sussman Foundation of State University of New York, to plant a cover crop than to weed the area. College of Forest Resources. We are extremely apprecia- tive of the Haudenosaunee communities, especially Kana- Conclusion tsiohareke, for their cooperation with this project. Special thanks to Thomas Porter for his trust and support. Theresa There is great restoration potential for Sweetgrass. This Burns, a field consultant for this project, made significant study has shown that the grass is easily transplanted and re- contributions to this study. She shared the art of basketry produces vigorously. Sweetgrass was cultivated in 2.25-m2 with us, and her expertise on Sweetgrass habitat was vital plots suitable for home gardens. The Sweetgrass planted in locating a field experiment site at Kanatsiohareke. with no competition and with Hairy vetch was successful in that it yielded increased growth and reproduction over the course of one growing season and over 1 year. Hairy vetch encouraged Sweetgrass’ vegetative repro- LITERATURE CITED duction and growth in height and biomass. Planting Sweetgrass with Hairy vetch generated the properties of Akwesasne Notes. 1978. Basic call to consciousness. Mohawk Nation, Sweetgrass that are desired by basketmakers, such as great Rooseveltown, New York. Anderson, M. K. 1996. The ethnobotany of deergrass, Muhlenbergia abundance and tall blades. This technique also allowed for rignes (): its uses and fire management by California Indian a relatively non–labor intensive method of cultivation. tribes. Economic Botany 50:409–422. Sweetgrass plays an extremely important role in Haude- Batte, M. T., K. J. Bacon, and J. W. Hopkins. 1998. Measures of economic nosaunee tradition and economy. Although it is highly and environmental performance for alternative agricultural produc- valued by contemporary weavers, herbalists, and ceremo- tion systems. Journal of Production Agriculture 11:428–438. nial leaders, the traditions associated with Sweetgrass are Benedict, L., and R. David. 2000. 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