Drill-seeding compared to broadcast-seeding improves a native bunchgrass establishment across multiple sites and years

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Lauren Svejcar, Jay Kerby, Bruce Mackey, Chad Boyd, Tony Svejcar, Kirk Davies

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Restoration in dryland ecosystems is renowned for low establishment of seeded species. As such, evaluations of current seeding methods are critical to understanding limitations and barriers to seeding success. Drill seeding is perceived as an optimal seeding strategy in many dryland ecosystems, but broadcast seeding is more commonly used as a seeding method due to physical and logistical constraints. For example, broadcast seeding may be conducted by aerial drops that are uninhibited by topography, whereas drill seeding equipment may be constrained to specific slopes. Few studies have quantified the differences between drill and broadcast seeding across spatiotemporal gradients. We compare two-year survival of emergent Pseudoroegneria spicata (bunchgrass) seedlings in the Great Basin for drill versus broadcast seeding methods across three planting years, three landscape aspects and two ecological sites (soil) using a 95% confidence interval approach to avoid penalty of multiplicity. We found drill seeding had overall greater survival of seedlings compared with broadcast seeding (2.7 times greater). However, differences varied by planting year, aspect and soil. Drill seeding had an obvious expression of benefit on clay soils with flat and north aspects (10.1 and 4.6 times greater for drill than broadcast seeding, respectively). In most conditions, drill seeding had greater survival than broadcast seeding, though in 2014 on south aspects broadcast seeding had greater survival than drill seeding (2.7 times greater). The results of this study demonstrate a need for precision restoration plans that account for spatiotemporal variation in addition to planting method in seeding efforts.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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