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Montana - Bridger Plant Materials Center Highlights



  • Bluebunch wheatgrass initial evaluation planting comparing the performance of 65 seed sources for use in eastern Montana and Wyoming.
  • Native grass species seed age study investigating stand establishment and productivity as seed lot age.
  • Field plantings testing species and planting technologies to improve and diversify rangeland and pollinator habitat.
  • Development of a perennial seeding calculator.


  • Participation in national cover crop studies testing 8 species and 58 varieties.
  • Cover crop seeding date study investigating optimum seeding dates for select cover crops.
  • Varietal testing and seeding rate studies with sorghum-sudangrass, kale, and common cover crop mixes.
  • Development of a cover crop seeding calculator.


  • Selected and released six native forb species for use in pollinator habitat enhancement plantings.
  • Study testing the ratio of grasses to forbs in a seed mix to ensure adequate sustainable forb component in established stands.
  • Alternate-row pollinator planting (planting grass and forbs in separate rows) and forb seeding date studies to test methods of increasing pollinator species establishment, persistence, and flowering abundance.
  • Montana Native Plants for Pollinator-Friendly Plantings highlights the importance of establishing nectar and pollen sources, shelter and breeding environments for pollinators and other beneficial insects.


  • Release of 10 woody species for various conservation applications such as rangeland practices, windbreaks and shelterbelts, living snow fences, and mined land reclamation.
  • Completion of plains cottonwood deep pot study in cooperation with ARS – Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory testing container sizes for enhancing cottonwood establishment in riparian corridors.
  • Completion of bur oak and plains cottonwood deep pot studies for dryland applications.
  • Testing of woody plants on a salt-affected site resulting in new salinity tolerance guidelines provided in Technical Note titled The Salinity Tolerance of 18 Trees and Shrubs Tested on a Heavy-Textured Soil in South-Central Montana


  • Release of seven grass and three woody plant selections with various levels of demonstrated salinity tolerance.
  • A 22-year collaborative effort with the Deer Lodge Valley Conservation District, State of Montana, and EPA to restore plant communities damaged by smelting operations in the Anaconda, Montana area resulting in seven native plant releases and numerous new plant-based establishment technologies.
  • Collaborative research partnership with ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory to develop revegetation techniques after removal of Russian olive from Montana and Wyoming riparian areas.
  • Trial plantings of cool and warm season cover crops on salt-affected sites.