The University of Arizona

Seeded versus containerized big sagebrush plants for seed-increase gardens.

B.L. Welch


Seed production of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) plants established from containerized seedlings was compared to plants established by direct seeding. A garden of 'Hobble Creek' mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) and a garden of Gordon Creek Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis Beetle &Young) were established in central Utah for this study. Each garden consisted of 10 rows of plants. Seed-derived plants were established on odd-numbered rows and container-derived plants in even-numbered rows. Seed-derived plants produce more seeds, larger top growth, deeper roots, lateral roots nearer the soil surface, and heavier root systems than container-derived plants. Seed-derived plants also produced large prominent tap roots; the containerized plants did not. Seed-derived plants had a zero death rate for the 4 study years. Death rates for containerized plants were 16% ('Hobble Creek') and 13% (Gordon Creek). To help meet seed demands, growers should establish seed-increase gardens with seed-derived plants. A cautionary note: It is unknown if the use of container-derived plants for adaptation trials might erroneously influence the results of such studies. However, the root development problems described in this study should cast some doubt.


seed production;container-grown plants;root systems;mortality;Artemisia tridentata;biomass;Utah

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