Dear Friends and Colleagues
The National Seed Laboratory (NSL) staff sincerely thank you for
your support over the years as we look forward to working with each
of you this upcoming season. It's been awhile since we've written
to update you on the status of our programs and we want to take
this opportunity to inform you of some changes at the laboratory
and in our current mission.
Seed Testing Program
Results and Reporting
Pure Harvest provides the ability
to view test results online as the tests are completed, including
weekly germination results, as well as print and e-mail seed test
reports as they become available. Most of you are already using
these features and no longer need us to mail you seed test reports.
The NSL will stop mailing test reports as
part of our regular reporting process. If you would like to continue
to receive test reports through the mail, please contact us.
We implemented many of your suggestions in Pure Harvest and one of the most visible improvements is the test results spreadsheet. Using the spreadsheet download
feature will allow you to view test results of all of your samples
at one time.
We have a new way to x-ray!. We now have a digital x-ray system.
tests will be stopped after 28 days in the germinator unless a minimum
of 5% of the seed germinate during the fourth week. Tests will be
extended as long as 5% of the seed continue to germinate. If less
than 5% germinate per week, the test will be taken out of the germinator
and the percentages of dormant and dead seed may be determined using
x-ray and by cutting seed and using tetrazolium.
The NSL will continue to provide assistance to you on seed collection,
processing, testing, storage, and seed germination. We'll be available
to assist you through workshops and site visits, our NSL website,
(www.nsl.fs.fed.us) phone and e-mail. Please contact us if you have
any questions or suggestions on how we can improve our services
or methods of delivery.
Over the past few years, the formal mission of the NSL has evolved
to include work on native herbaceous plants. We've added 12 new
double germination cabinets.
The NSL conducts germination tests on several hundred species of
trees, shrubs and native plants. One of the challenges we have in
working with many of these species is the degree of dormancy present
in a species may not be known or may vary from year to year or between
sources and even within individual seed lots. Dormant seed may require
specific pretreatment conditions (warm and/or cold temperature(s)
and length of time at those temperatures) for the necessary chemical
and developmental changes to take place before germination can begin.
In addition, specific temperature(s) may be required for germination.
We're studying the germination requirements for seeds of numerous
species from the Great Basin area of the Western US and from the
longleaf-wiregrass coastal plain of the Southeastern US. Results
will be used to help plant producers and land managers produce plants
for a variety of revegetation projects. If you would like us to
work with you to develop pretreatment and germination methods for
a particular species, please contact us.
The NSL is also helping protect plants native to the United States
by serving as an entry point for seed collections into the USDA
National Plant Germplasm System. Working with a number of cooperators,
the NSL has received seed lots of Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana),
ash (Fraxinus spcs.), and redbay (Persea borbonia) over the past
year for inclusion in the system. Each species is currently threatened
by exotic insect or fungal pests in areas of their natural ranges
making preservation of these species critical. Some of the seed
collected from each location will be stored at the USDA National
Center for Genetic Conservation and Preservation in Fort Collins,
Thank you again for all of your support and we look forward to working
with you this coming year and in the future.