An Experiment On Latent Wild Seeds In Their Native Soil

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mikkelsen
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-09-04
An Experiment On Latent Wild Seeds In Their Native Soil

Greetings Everyone,

Years ago, my friend and I used to talk about collecting soil in the wild and seeing what might grow from seeds unseen. We never got around to trying it. So...

...in October 2010 I collected a 9" x 12" envelope full of sandy soil from a desert area with Hymenoxys, Astragalus, Haplopappus, Phlox and other plants endemic to the county. In December 2010 I filled three rectangular flower pots with my alpine soil mix and put a thin layer of the wild collected soil over the mix. I used the thin layer approach since most seeds from desert areas are light requiring for germination.

The soil I gathered was next to the plant and down into the soil a few inches, disturbing the plant roots as little as possible.

My hypothesis is that the seeds from these areas around the plants are dormant due to proximity to the plant and other possible germination inhibitors. If the seeds are at least a year old and require cold stratification that would be completed the first winter. The experiment isn't incredibly scientific but has the makings of a good paper to present somewhere, someday.

So, as we wait for Spring to come around, there's some food for thought. Give it a try this coming year. I will give an update of the results of the experiment and take some photos to share if there are seeds that germinate.

Happy Sowing And germination,
James

WimB
WimB's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Hi James,

interesting experiment. I'm curious if you'll get some results.

Wim Boens
Wingene Belgium zone 8a

Paul T
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

A fascinating idea.  I'll be interested to see the results as well.  Much of Australia is arid region that relies on occasional rain to stimulate dormant seed.  The last year has seen a breaking of the drought and plants are apparently reappearing in places they were last seen 30 years ago.  It would be interesting next year to collect some soil from some of these areas as this year should see a dramatic increase in the seed burden of the soil, as there has been a bumper year and likely a very high seed production.  One never thinks of collecting soil from an area to see what germinates, but in those sorts of arid areas it could be an absolutely fascinating result.

Good luck, and please keep us posted.

Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9°C. Max summer temp 40°C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Collecting soil and sow and see is an established way to look for dormant seeds. In Norwegian we use a term "soil seedbank". Taking soil samples is used to investigate what kind of weeds you can expect in agriculture or what kind of plants which can be expected to germinate after deforestation.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

My first thought was how would you care for the collected sample before "sowing" it.  I was thinking about other organisms besides seeds that might be present that may or may introduce factors in your results.  If the soil came from a desert like area, I suppose it wouldn't matter nearly as much as from a moister climate.  An interesting extension of the experiment might be to compare soil strata samples, say, top quarter inch versus half to one inch down.

It will be interesting to hear your results, James.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Hoy wrote:

Collecting soil and sow and see is an established way to look for dormant seeds. In Norwegian we use a term "soil seedbank". Taking soil samples is used to investigate what kind of weeds you can expect in agriculture or what kind of plants which can be expected to germinate after deforestation.

I believe similar terms and approaches are used here, especially when trying to determine the status of a species in habitat... We also have many species that wait for a break in the forest to germinate, though also many species continue to grow and even spread vegetatively, even if they don't flower until they get more sun...

Fun experiment!

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mikkelsen
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-09-04

The experiment becomes more interesting!  There are seedlings!  More to come as they grow on...

Above All, Peace,
James

Margin of the Great Basin Desert & Wasatch Mountains
4350' (1326m) Elevation; Zone 5a - 7a; 5 miles from the
climate moderating effects of The Great Salt Lake, Utah
J. Mikkelsen

Log in or register to post comments