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Florida Native Seed Production Manual

03-120-196Final

For many years, the Florida phosphate industry had attempted to restore native plant communities on reclaimed minedlands. Earlier efforts often failed because Florida native varieties were not readily available, and no one fully understood how to harvest and plant most natives on a large scale. Information about seed and plant adaptation ranges, seed and plant production characteristics, maturity dates, germination rates, seedling vigor, and management practices to induce flowering was also not available.

Between 1991 and 2002, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Materials Center (PMC) at Brooksville, Florida conducted research on native plant species under two agreements with the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (FIPR). Results of these studies were published by FIPR in a technical document called “Development of Seed Sources and Establishment Methods for Native Upland Reclamation.” A native grass seed production manual was recently published for seed growers in the Midwestern United States and Canada. It contained many valuable production guidelines. However, this information needed to be expanded to include native species unique to Florida.

The “Florida Native Seed Production Manual” contains comprehensive information about growing Florida native species for seed, including state-of-the-art planting and production technology. Planting and collection equipment currently on the market is discussed, along with detailed information about seed conditioning equipment.

Several native Florida species are showcased in this manual. All of them have performed well on reclaimed minedlands. Each has potential for being included in a native upland seed mixture. The native species featured in this manual should not be considered an all-inclusive list. Other native species in Florida may be useful for reclaiming uplands, however research on them is incomplete at this time.

Special thanks to the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research for sponsoring research and providing grant money to produce this document. Thanks also to the Florida phosphate industry for providing reclaimed minedland sites for research studies. Additional information about the Brooksville, Florida Plant Material Center is available on the National Plant Materials Program web site at http://Plant-Materials.nrcs.usda.gov.