Collecting and Using Your Own Wildflower Seed to Expand Pollinator Habitat on Farms

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2016

Native wildflowers are the backbone of pollinator habitat on the farm. Field borders, filter strips, pastures, hedgerows, and other places where wildflowers (and grasses!) grow also provide us with natural pest control by sustaining predators of crop pests. Additionally, these plants help filter runoff from fields, and protect soil from erosion. Despite the benefits that native wildflowers and grasses provide, the cost of seed can be daunting. Fortunately, if you have native plant areas already established, they can provide you with a readily available source for additional seed.

While harvesting seed from existing wildflowers around the farm may not yield huge volumes, it can provide you with the raw material to gradually create more habitat on the farm. By collecting seed from plants already growing on your land, you are also focusing your efforts on species that are known to perform well on your soils. In this document we outline the basic steps of collecting native plant seed using readily available, non-specialized equipment. While our focus is primarily on wildflowers, many of these same techniques can be useful for collecting native grasses as well as seeds from trees and shrubs.

Download PDF: Collecting and Using Your Own Wildflower Seed to Expand Pollinator Habitat on Farms (2MB)

The Woody Plant Seed Manual

Authors: Bonner, F.T. and Karrfalt R.P. (eds.) Date: 2008

The major audience for this book, as for its two predecessors, is those who are involved in the growing and planting of trees and shrubs. Their involvement can be collection and sale of seeds, production of nursery stock (both bare- root and container), or planting itself. Planting for commercial forest production is the traditional mainstay of tree planting, but planting for wildlife food, watershed protection, urban environmental improvement, ornamental enhancement, wetland mitigation, and carbon sequestration are all on the increase. Ecosystem management, now commonly used in the management of many federal and other governmental forest lands, has decreased the use of planting to regenerate the forests and has increased the role of natural regeneration. Those who apply these practices will find this book useful also in the data on flowering and seed production. Although the book is not intended to be a detailed textbook on seed ecology and physiology, there is sufficient scope and depth to the material included to make it useful to anyone who studies seeds.

Download (PDF): The Woody Plant Seed Manual (21MB)

Propagating Native Grass Seed and Seedlings

Author: Steinfeld, D.

J. Herbert Stone Nursery produces over 20,000 pounds of native grass seed annually from 36 species endemic to public lands in the western states. Nursery seedbeds are established from wild seed collections. Each collection (referred to as seedlot) is grown separately from other seedlots of same species to prevent cross pollen contamination. Sowing, culturing, harvesting and storage practices for seed and seedling production are discussed. Methods and strategies for achieving successful restoration projects using native grass seed and seedlings are also addressed.

Download (PDF): Propagating Native Grass Seed and Seedlings (202KB)

Extraction and Germination of Pacific Madrone Seed

Authors: Harrington C.A., Lodding, C.C., and Kraft J.M. Date: 1999

Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) seeds can be extracted and cleaned in a procedure which utilizes a mortar and pestle, a blender with a rubber blade, and several sieves. The method involves several steps but is not difficult and can result in a large amount of seed in a short period of time. Following extraction, the seeds can be dried and stored at low moisture content (6%) in sealed containers at 3-5°C or given a cold strati cation treatment and then sown. Cold stratification periods of 60 days or longer increased the initial rate of germination compared to seeds stratified for 40 days but resulted in seed losses due to premature germination during stratification. For lots from the Puget Sound Lowlands, cold stratification for 40 days is adequate; seeds in stratification longer than 40 days should be monitored closely for premature germination.

Download (PDF): Extraction and Germination of Pacific Madrone Seed (150KB)

Milkweeds: a Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2014

The information in Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide is gathered from interviews with native plant nurseries and seed producers, gained firsthand through Project Milkweed, and synthesized from scientific literature. It provides conservation professionals with information about optimizing milkweed seed production methods, offers guidance on incorporating milkweeds into restoration and revegetation efforts, and highlights milkweeds’ unique characteristics and value to wildlife. Native seed producers, restoration practitioners, land managers, monarch conservationists, gardeners, and landowners will all find this guide valuable.

Download (PDF): Milkweeds: a Conservation Practitioner’s Guide (6MB)

Raising Native Plants in Nurseries: Basic Concepts

Authors: Dumeroese, Luna & Landis (eds.) Date: 2012

Growing native plants can be fun, challenging, and rewarding. This booklet, particularly the first chapter that introduces important concepts, is for the novice who wants to start growing native plants as a hobby; however, it can also be helpful to someone with a bit more experience who is wondering about starting a nursery. The second chapter provides basic information about collecting, processing, storing, and treating seeds. Chapter three focuses on using seeds to grow plants in the field or in containers using simple but effective techniques. For those native plants that reproduce poorly from seeds, the fourth chapter describes how to start native plants from cuttings. The final chapter provides valuable information on how to successfully move native plants from the nursery and establish them in their final planting location.

Download (PDF): Raising Native Plants in Nurseries: Basic Concepts (17.2MB)

Processing Seeds of California Native Plants

Author: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Date: 2009

This manual focuses on the seed processing steps that precede – and are necessary for – successful propagation and long-term seed storage. It targets California native plants and plants native to northern Baja California, Mexico, but the general techniques are applicable also to other physiologically or taxonomically related species.

Download (PDF): Processing Seed of California Native Plants RSABC (14.8MB)

Native Seed Production Manual

Author: Tallgrass Prairie Center (Iowa) Date: 2007

This manual provides basic information for native seed production of nearly 50 species of the tallgrass prairie flora of the upper Mid-west. The information presented is compiled from published accounts coupled with native seed production experience at the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa.

Download (PDF): Native Seed Production Manual TPC (5MB)

Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest

Author: Corvallis PMC & Amy Bartow Date: 2015

The Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest contains detailed, species-specific information for 17 grasses, 60 forbs, and 7 sedges and rushes found throughout the Western regions of Oregon and Washington. It also contains information on all aspects of seed production, from establishment and weed control to harvesting and seed processing. The back section features an equipment overview, which explains the various types of equipment used at the Corvallis Plant Materials Center.

Download (PDF): Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest (31.6MB)