Creating a Great Basin native annual forb seed increase program: Lessons learned

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Our objective was to start a small, native, annual forb production program, testing strategies to increase 6 species over 4 y. We found that seed of native annual forbs can be wild-collected in years with sufficient precipitation, and that they can be propagated using fall planting between rows of landscape fabric, without irrigation. Low-tech harvest methods, including vacuuming or sweeping off landscape fabric, and in some cases collecting and drying entire plants, can work for small-scale increases. For seed cleaning, a variety of sieves are key, and a seed blower can be helpful. We also present our plans for extending this work by testing the establishment of annual forbs in post-fire restoration projects. Our results demonstrate that seed production of native annual forbs can be achieved without specialized equipment or irrigation. For the majority of species, we were able to increase seed sufficiently so that it could be sown in larger agricultural-increase fields.

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