The SEEDS Organic Puck: An Innovative System for Establishing Native Plants on Disturbed Sites

Authors
Richard Krygier
Dave Larsen
Date:
January
2016

The objective of the SEEDS (Seed Enhanced Ecological Delivery System) project is to develop and test a seed delivery technology that improves the emergence and early establishment of native plants (trees, shrubs and herbaceous) for the reclamation of disturbed boreal forest sites. The concept is to create a microsite product that can be used to transport seed and to successfully establish plants on sites where no suitable microsites exist. We have sourced and combined multiple organic and inorganic ingredients in various ratios (over 100 recipes) and identified combinations that result in a pressed puck with physical (e.g., mechanical stability for transportation, moisture holding) and chemical attributes that create a superior microsite for seed germination and early seedling growth. In greenhouse trials there was a significant difference in germination success of dogwood and black spruce between the controls and the puck treatments on loam and sandy soils. We are also testing multiple puck coatings in greenhouse and field trials to improve moisture retention. In a small field trial in a disturbed treed muskeg, 75% of pucks placed on various microsites in the spring had one or more black spruce seedlings at the end of 2015, a very dry year. This innovative seed delivery system may offer a new cost-effective strategy to establish diverse native plant species on the landscape, thereby contributing to increasing biodiversity and restoration of ecosystems.