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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Influences of Initial Seed Moisture and Humidification on Seed Germination of Wyoming Big Sagebrush

item Booth, D
item Roos E E,

Submitted to: International Rangeland Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: We wish to improve direct seeding success for Wyoming big sagebrush. To do this we investigated the relationship between seed moisture and seedling vigor, knowing that management of seed moisture has benefited many crop species. We collected sagebrush seed from native stands in February and found seed moisture ranged from 2.3 to 9.0%. Seeds with 5-6% moisture had the highest germination and germination rate. However, germination was similar among collections after 6 months of storage and the range of seed moisture had narrowed to 4.9-5.9%. Seedling vigor increased during storage and was similar among collections. We found that seed collections with heavier seeds had greater germination and germinated more quickly than collections with relatively light seeds. Seeds of 2 collections were treated to artificially increase seed moisture. Total germination, germination rate and seedling vigor were similar for treated and untreated seed regardless of seed moisture change. We conclude that artificial seed moisture management did not affect germination or germination rate of sagebrush. Seedling vigor may change with seed moisture, probably due to a post-harvest ripening phenomenon, but vigor was not affected by the seed moisture treatments we used.

Technical Abstract: Pre-dispersal moisture of Wyoming big sagebrush seed was found to be as low as 2.3%. Artificially increasing seed moisture did not improve seed performance when seed was imbibed at optimum temperature. Germination and germination rate were higher for seed collections with heavier seed weights.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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