Hydroseeding improves field establishment of Nebraska sedge regardless of seed treatment


Practical and effective direct-seeding methods for establishment of restored and constructed wetlands are desirable to reduce cost and labor. Current practices used to establish wetlands in the Western US typically involve the use of greenhouse-propagated plant materials or field-collected transplants. These methods are expensive and labor intensive. Sowing germinants into a muddy seedbed, a technique commonly used in rice production, shows potential as a method for field establishment of wetland sedge species. We compared establishment densities of Nebraska sedge (Carex nebrascensis Dewey [Cyperaceae]) using 2 seed treatments (32-d stratification at 3 °C [37 °F]) and germinants produced with a 13-d aerated warm water (35 °C [95 °F]) bath and 2 seed delivery methods (hydroseeding and broadcasting). The comparisons were conducted in 2 ponds; one prepared using traditional agronomic practices and the other prepared to create a muddy seedbed similar to that used in rice production. We found a 2X to 3X increase in seedling establishment from hydroseeding compared with broadcasting regardless of seed treatment; however, seedling densities dramatically decreased later in the season, presumably as a result of inundation that drowned the plants. This problem highlights the need for close control of water levels when establishing wetland sedges. This level of precision may be difficult to achieve under typical field conditions.