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Tara de Queiroz, Elizabeth A. Leger
With their high reproductive capacity and disturbance-oriented life history strategies, Great Basin native annual forbs have the potential to be more successful in colonizing burned sagebrush sites than the later seral species that are commonly used in restoration. However, seed of native annual forb species is usually not commercially available, and information on how to increase seeds of these species in agricultural settings is limited to nonexistent. We present our progress in starting a small native annual forb production program and testing strategies to increase six species over four years. We found that seeds of native annual forbs can be wild-collected and propagated without irrigation. Low-tech harvest methods including vacuuming or sweeping off landscape fabric, or collecting and drying entire plants, can work for small-scale increases. For seed cleaning, a variety of sieves are key, and a seed blower can be helpful. Our results demonstrate that seed production of native annual forbs can be achieved without specialized equipment or irrigation. For most species, we were able to increase seed sufficiently so that it could be sown in larger agricultural-increase fields. We have also extended this work by testing the establishment of annual forbs in post-fire restoration projects.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program