Seed enhancement technologies to improve germination and emergence of Australian native Poaceae (Seed Sci. Res.)

One of the most significant limitations in seed-based restoration projects is that some native species exhibit low recruitment in the field. As a result, various seed enhancement technologies (SETs) are being developed to improve germination and seedling emergence by facilitating access to nutrients and water. Moreover, they can include germination-enhancing chemicals (GECs) that help seeds overcome dormancy. In this research, Beveridge and colleagues test the effect of different combinations of SETs and GECs in the germination of three Australian grass species. Seeds were treated with three SETs (seed priming, seed coating, and seed cookies) in combination with two GECs (smoke water, KNO3, or both) and planted in pots with two contrasting soil types. Regardless of the soil, seed cookies reduced germination, probably because they provided mechanical restrictions to seedling development. In contrast, coating and priming seeds with at least one GEC significantly enhanced germination by presumably aiding seeds to break dormancy and resume metabolic activities. Therefore, this research shows the potential of SETs to increase the success of seed-based restoration strategies. Moreover, it provides a useful baseline for future efforts to widen the use of these technologies in other native species. (Summary by Carlos A. Ordóñez-Parra @caordonezparra) Seed Sci. Res. 10.1017/S0960258520000276