Hit and miss process overcome: This compares with the normal direct seeding where gemination rates can be as low as five per cent. “Large scale direct seeding of saltbush is very attractive to environmental managers because it costs about a third of the price of seedlings," Dr Stevens said. "But until now it has been a very hit-and-miss process – in both success rates and timing.”
Basic seed science works wonders: The research is showing that a basic understanding of seed dormancy and germination requirements has the potential to significantly improve field emergence of saltbush species.
Further investigation planned: Dr Stevens has been working with three common varieties of saltbush, but the others, old man saltbush from Australia and wavyleaf saltbush from Argentina, had not had the same results from the gibberellic acid. But other treatments, such as removing bracteoles (the wings around the saltbush seed) before planting, were increasing rates of emergence significantly, as did salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin). These will be investigated further in coming months if funding is available.
Contact: Dr Jason Stevens. Phone: (08) 9480 3639. Email: email@example.com
Focus on Salt, 3/2006, p. 18
Source: Erisk Net