Grassland restoration by seeding: seed source and growth form matter more than density

  • Published source details Walker E.A., Hermann J.M. & Kollman J. (2015) Grassland restoration by seeding: seed source and growth form matter more than density. Applied Vegetation Science, 18, 368-378.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Sow grassland seeds from a local source

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Grassland Conservation
  1. Sow grassland seeds from a local source

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2011–2013 in a former plant nursery in southern Germany (Walker et al. 2015) found that sowing locally sourced seeds reduced the abundance of the invasive plant fleabane Erigeron annuus, had a mixed effect on the abundance of individual plant species but did not alter plant cover. There were more Carthusian pink Dianthus carthusianorum plants in areas where a local grass seeds were sown (56–96 plants/m2) than in areas where commercial grass seeds were sown (31–58 plants/m2). However, there was no significant difference in the abundance of perennial flax Linum perenne (local: 84–109 plants/m2; commercial: 72–122 plants/m2) and ox-eye Buphthalmum salicifolium (local: 22–38 plants/m2; commercial: 24–40 plants/m2). Vegetation cover did not differ significantly between areas where seeds were sown (43–50%) and where no seeds were sown (34%). There were fewer invasive annual fleabane plants in areas where seeds were sown (108–142 plants/m2) than in areas where no seeds were sown (141 plants/m2). Before seeds were sown, the site was sprayed with glyphosate herbicide and was harrowed and raked. Twelve 3.5 x 1 m plots were sown with locally sourced seeds of the species red fescue Festuca rubra at a rate of 0.4 g/m2, twelve plots were sown with commercially sourced red fescue seed, and six plots were not sown with grass seed. All plots were sown with seeds of the species perennial flax, Carthusian pink, and ox-eye. In July 2012, seedlings were counted in all plots, and in May 2013, plants of all species were counted.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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