Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): K. W. Davies; C. S. Boyd; M. D. Madsen; J. Kerby; A. Hulet
    Date: 2018
    Source: Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71: 19-24.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (340.0 KB)


    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) restoration is needed across vast areas, especially after large wildfires, to restore important ecosystem services. Sagebrush restoration success is inconsistent, with a high rate of seeding failures, particularly at lower elevations. Seed enhancement technologies may overcome limitations to restoration success. Seed pillows are one such technology designed to improve seed-soil contact in broadcast seedings by providing a favorable medium for seedling establishment and growth. Seed pillows have shown promising results in greenhouse studies; however, they have not been evaluated in the field.We compared broadcast-seeding seed pillows with broadcast-seeding bare seed in 2 yr across a large, burned elevation gradient. Compared with bare seed, we found no evidence that seed pillows improved sagebrush establishment and growth across the elevation gradient. Though our results suggest that seed pillows do not increase the likelihood of successful sagebrush restoration, they were successful at times when bare seeds were not, and the same was true for bare seeds. At least one of the two treatments was successful at 50% of the elevations over the 2 seeding yr. This suggests that a bet hedging approach, seeding both bare seed and seed pillows, may increase the probability of success. Further supporting the use of bet hedging, if both methods were used and seeding occurred in both years, success would have been 86%. Sagebrush density and cover varied by elevation. In the first-yr seeding, sagebrush density and cover generally increased with increasing elevation. In the second-yr seeding, sagebrush density and cover were greatest at the lowest and highest elevations. We speculate that at the lower elevations an unusually wet spring combined with limited herbaceous vegetation provided an ideal environment for sagebrush establishment and growth. Our results also demonstrate, counter to common assumptions, that lower elevations sagebrush seedings can be successful.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Davies, K. W.; Boyd, C. S.; Madsen, M. D.; Kerby, J.; Hulet, A. 2018. Evaluating a seed technology for sagebrush restoration across an elevation gradient: Support for bet hedging. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71: 19-24.


    Google Scholar


    Artemisia tridentata, broadcast-seeding, sagebrush steppe, shrubs, wildfire

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page