Development of Seed Sources and Establishment Methods for Native Upland Reclamation
There is a growing demand in Florida for native seed sources, which can be used to restore upland habitats. However, native species have inherent traits that make development of commercial sources difficult and costly. The purpose of this 5-year agreement was to develop seed sources, and associated establishment and production technology for selected native species. A four-fold approach was used, including seed collection, plant evaluation, researching seed production and establishment practices. A large number of collections were made throughout Florida and evaluated in laboratory, greenhouse and field trials. Methods to increase seed production of native grasses were investigated. Experiments were conducted on reclaimed mined lands, testing seeding methods, rates and dates for several native grasses. As a result, 8 species are under development, with several species being close to commercial release. A large volume of useful establishment and seed production technology was developed; the results of which are to be compiled into a manual for future growers. Currently, there is no commercial native seed production industry in Florida. Much opportunity exists in Florida to develop this industry, along with a greater diversity of seed sources and associated technology.