Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 19, 2003
Publication Date: January 25, 2004
Citation: Clements, D.D., Young, J.A. 2004. The effect of micro-nutrient seed treatment on perennial grass emergence and establishment [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. 57:61. Technical Abstract: Restoration of disturbed sites to mitigate environmental degradation is consuming an increasingly amount of natural resource managers time. In semi-arid and arid environments, restoration seedings are often very difficult to establish. Managers who have become frustrated with seeding failures using conventional methodologies are experimenting with non-conventional, often propriety seed treatments in an attempt to enhance seedling establishment. The exact nature of these propriety treatments is often confidential, but they generally consist of either nutrient or micro-nutrient enrichment or inoculation with unspecified micro-organisms. Managers sometime report excellent seedling establishment using these products, but the lack of experimental designs containing replications, data collection, and the use of control treatments makes it impossible to assign cause and affect with any level of statistical precision. We evaluated the micro-nutrient seed treatment GERM-N-87 on seedling emergence and establishment of 8 native and 1 introduced perennial grass at 2 location in northwestern Nevada. The product is suspension of nutrients (nitrogen 2%, phosphorus 14%, and potassium 3%) applied to dry seeds at a rate of 182 g per 45 kg of grass seed. The locations were Bedell Flat [degraded basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata)/Thurber=s needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum)-needle and thread grass (Hesperostipa comata)] and Granite Peak [degraded mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana)/Thurber=s needlegrass). A randomized block design with 3 replications was used. Seedling emergence, growth and persistence was followed for 2 years after seeding. Initial emergence of the grass seedlings at the Bedell Flat location was significantly (P< 0.05) higher with the micro-nutrient treatment. There was no difference in emergence at the Granite Peak site. There were no difference in seedling establish or persistence at either site. Nitrate nitrogen is the ingredient most likely to enhance grass seed germination. The application rate of 3 mg of 0.3% nitrate nitrogen is far below the rate of enrichment that has been shown to enhance grass seed germination in the laboratory.