Study

Seedling recruitment on agriculturally improved mesic grassland: the influence of disturbance and management schemes

  • Published source details Hofmann M. & Isselstein J. (2004) Seedling recruitment on agriculturally improved mesic grassland: the influence of disturbance and management schemes. Applied Vegetation Science, 7, 193-200.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Apply herbicide before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Disturb soil before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Mow before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Apply herbicide before seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1998–1999 in a species-poor grassland near Göttingen, Germany (Hofmann & Isselstein 2004) found that spraying with herbicide followed by sowing seeds increased the emergence of seedlings for five of eight wildflower species compared to sowing alone. After one year, the average percentage of seedlings that emerged for five of eight wildflower species was higher in plots sprayed with herbicide before seeds were sown (22–35%) than in plots not sprayed with herbicide before seeds were sown (11–22%). For the other three species, seedling emergence did not differ significantly between sprayed (14–20%) and unsprayed plots (13–20%). In 1998, blocks were established at the site (replication unclear from study). The herbicide glufosinate was sprayed on vegetation in 0.5 × 0.5 m plots and six weeks later wildflower seeds were sown, while in other plots seeds were sown but herbicide was not sprayed (number for each not reported). Emergence of seedlings was recorded in each plot in July 1999.

     

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Disturb soil before seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, paired controlled study in 1998–1999 in a species-poor grassland near Göttingen, Germany (Hofmann & Isselstein 2004) found that disturbing soil before sowing seeds increased the emergence of seedlings for seven of eight wildflower species compared to sowing alone. After one year, the average percentage of seedlings that emerged for seven of eight wildflower species was higher in plots where soil was disturbed before sowing (19–32%) than in plots where soil was not disturbed before sowing (11–22%). For one wildflower species, seedling emergence did not differ significantly between plots where soil was disturbed (14%) or not disturbed (13%) before sowing. In 1998, blocks were established at the site (replication unclear from study). A rake was used to disturb the soil and vegetation in 0.5 × 0.5 m plots and wildflower seeds were sown, while in other plots seeds were sown but soil and vegetation were not disturbed (number for each not reported). Emergence of seedlings was recorded in each plot in July 1999.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  3. Mow before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1998–1999 in a species-poor grassland in Göttingen, Germany (Hofmann & Isselstein 2004; same study site as Hofmann & Isselstein 2005) found that mowing more frequently after sowing seeds increased seedling survival for seven sown forb species. After 12 months, the average percentage of seedlings that survived for seven sown forb species was higher in plots mown once every 1–3 weeks (55–84%) than in plots mown once every nine weeks (10–51%). In July 1998, multiple 2 x 6 m plots (number not reported) were sown with seeds of seven local forb species and mown once every one, three or nine weeks for 12 months. Emergence and survival of seedlings was recorded by marking seedlings in 0.5 x 0.5 m subplots within each plot from April 1998 to July 1999.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

  4. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated controlled trial near Göttingen Germany (Hofmann & Isselstein 2004) found that harrowing before sowing enhanced the survival of most grassland plants sown into existing grassland. For six of eight species tested, seedling emergence was highest if seeds were sown after harrowing. All species, except red clover Trifolium pratense, were more likely to have survived after one year if sown after harrowing than on control plots without harrowing. Complete removal of vegetation with herbicide before sowing, or frequent cutting before or after, did not enhance seedling emergence any further. For red clover, cutting and pre-sowing disturbance made no difference to seedling emergence. Autumn hawkbit Leontodon autumnalis, had the highest emergence with the highest disturbance (cutting every week, or complete removal of vegetation before planting). All tested species survived better in plots cut every one or three weeks after sowing than in those cut every nine weeks. Eight plant species were sown in May 1998, in 0.5 x 0.5 m plots on a previously intensively managed, species-poor grassland. Plots were cut every one, three or nine weeks in the nine weeks before sowing and every one, three or nine weeks after sowing. They were either left undisturbed, harrowed or treated with herbicide before sowing. There were three replicates of each treatment combination. Seedling survival was recorded until July 1999.

     

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