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Seed production and establishment of western Oregon native grassesAuthor(s): Dale C. Darris
Source: In: Dumroese, R. K.; Riley, L. E.; Landis, T. D., tech. coords. 2005. National proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations—2004; 2004 July 12–15; Charleston, NC; and 2004 July 26–29; Medford, OR. Proc. RMRS-P-35. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 119-128
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionIt is well understood that native grasses are ecologically important and provide numerous benefits. However, unfavorable economics, low seed yields for some species, genetic issues, and a lack of experience behind the production and establishment of most western Oregon native grasses remain significant impediments for their expanded use. By necessity, adaptation of standard practices used by the grass seed industry and grassland specialists for introduced species provides the starting point for determining agronomic increase and establishment methods. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plant Materials Center at Corvallis, Oregon, has experience increasing at least 15 species of native grasses. It has also conducted studies involving the effects of fertilization, row spacing, post-harvest residue management (burning versus baling), and herbicides on yields of select species. Results are usually species specific, indicating much more research is needed. Fortunately for some native grasses, practical experience has demonstrated the efficacy of certain customary techniques such as carbon banding, timely fertilization, pesticide use, and windrow-combining. Specialty equipment for small grain, seed increase, and processing can be directly transferred or modified for use on native grasses.
Whether for seed increase, revegetation, or restoration, many but not all native grasses possess special challenges. These include dormancy, seed appendages, seed quality, slow growth, and poor competition with weeds. Some are easier to address than others. Other considerations for establishment include equipment, site preparation, and soil amendments such as fertilization. While well documented methodologies readily apply to native grass seeding prescriptions, development of compatible mixtures and appropriate seeding rates requires considerable guesswork. General guidelines and experiences are provided, but substantial work is needed.
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CitationDarris, Dale C. 2005. Seed production and establishment of western Oregon native grasses. In: Dumroese, R. K.; Riley, L. E.; Landis, T. D., tech. coords. 2005. National proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations—2004; 2004 July 12–15; Charleston, NC; and 2004 July 26–29; Medford, OR. Proc. RMRS-P-35. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 119-128
Keywordsnative grasses, seed production, establishment, seed dormancy, seeding prescription, revegetation, restoration, seeding rates
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