Influence of Polymer Seed Coatings, Soil Raking, and Time of Sowing on Seedling Performance in Post-Mining Restoration

Authors

  • Shane R. Turner,

    Corresponding author
    1. Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
    2. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
      Address correspondence to S. R. Turner, email sturner@bgpa.wa.gov.au
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  • Brett Pearce,

    1. Department of Environmental Biology, Division of Resources and Environment, Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
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  • Deanna P. Rokich,

    1. Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
    2. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
    3. School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia
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  • Robert R. Dunn,

    1. Department of Environmental Biology, Division of Resources and Environment, Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
    2. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1610, U.S.A.
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  • David J. Merritt,

    1. Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
    2. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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  • Jonathan D. Majer,

    1. Department of Environmental Biology, Division of Resources and Environment, Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
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  • Kingsley W. Dixon

    1. Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
    2. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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Address correspondence to S. R. Turner, email sturner@bgpa.wa.gov.au

Abstract

This study represents part of a broader investigation into novel seed broadcasting methodologies as a means to optimize rehabilitation techniques following sand mining. Specifically, the study investigated the use of polymer seed coatings, time of sowing application, and in situ raking of the topsoil to optimize seedling recruitment to site. For polymer seed coatings, an ex situ trial was undertaken to evaluate seed coating effects on seedling emergence. Results demonstrated that seed coatings did not significantly inhibit maximum emergence percentage of 10 Banksia woodland species (out of 11 evaluated), but coated seeds from four species were on average 2–6 days slower to emerge than noncoated seeds. Seed coatings were found to have a greater effect in situ, with more coated seeds emerging than noncoated seeds. Topsoil raking (following seed sowing) and time of sowing were found to have the greatest impact on seedling emergence, with higher emergence following topsoil raking (5- to 90-fold increase) and sowing in May (late autumn) (1.4- to 12-fold increase) rather than in July (mid-winter). The implications for mining rehabilitation are discussed, and areas for further research are considered.

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