Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding

Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding

Sowing native seeds
Sowing native seeds by hand after site prep using a flame torch.
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Before site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native seedlings and plants growing from seed in burn pile sites.
Sowing native seeds
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Using a flame torch for site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants growing from seed in a burn pile site
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Using a flame torch for site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants growing from seed in a burn pile site
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
After site prep the thatch and duff layer are burned off and the area is ready for native seeds

Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding

Native plant seeds are used for various applications. Many people use native seeds for growing plants for landscaping and native plant gardens, while others who own or manage land will use native seeds for habitat restoration projects. If you own or manage land you may have a goal of increasing native plant composition and diversity — using native seeds is a great way to achieve that goal! Seed germination is greatly improved if seeds have direct contact with the soil and there is limited competition from non-native plants and heavy thatch, so site preparation is one of the most important aspects of a successful native seed project. Site preparation can be achieved through various techniques, including solarization, tilling, herbicide use, or fire.

Solarization, using clear greenhouse or black plastic to heat the soil and kill existing vegetation and non-native seeds in the soil seedbank, is a good choice for small areas but can be difficult to pull off on a large scale. It is a non-toxic method and is worth trying if other other site prep techniques are not possible.

Tilling can work under certain situations but generally triggers germination of non-native plant seeds in the soil seedbank that thrive on soil disturbance. If tilling, try to only till the top 1″ of the soil to limit soil disturbance. The least amount of soil disturbance the better. Sometimes simply raking thatch back to the point where bare mineral soil is exposed can be all you need to sow native seeds and have successful seed germination.

Herbicide use is commonly used by restoration practitioners to kill off existing vegetation and replace it with native plants using native seeds. Although this method is effective, it is controversial for all the obvious reasons associated with herbicide use and we don’t use this method ourselves.

Sowing native seeds
Sowing native seeds by hand after site prep using a flame torch.
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Before site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native seedlings and plants growing from seed in burn pile sites.
Sowing native seeds
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Using a flame torch for site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants growing from seed in a burn pile site
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Using a flame torch for site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants growing from seed in a burn pile site
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
After site prep the thatch and duff layer are burned off and the area is ready for native seeds

The site preparation technique we will feature is using fire to prepare a site for native seeds. The Klamath-Siskiyou region is a fire-adapted ecosystem where over millennia plant seeds have evolved to germinate profusely following a fire in order to recolonize the site. Fire naturally prepares a site by eliminating thatch and creating a mineral-rich seed bed of ash and bare soil, perfect conditions for seed germination.

Although federal land managers and large land conservancies do seeding projects following large prescribed fire projects, private landowners can create the same effects on a very small scale using simple techniques. If you have land that you have performed homesite defensible space work on and you have some burn piles to burn, turn those burn pile sites into small seed projects. After the burn pile has fully cooled down and is completely out you can sow the area with native seeds. Seeds are best sown in the fall in order to achieve cold-stratification requirements. A burn pile that was a small circle of ash and charcoal can turn into a profusion of native plants and wildflowers that will spread over time.

Sowing native seeds
Sowing native seeds by hand after site prep using a flame torch.
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Before site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native seedlings and plants growing from seed in burn pile sites.
Sowing native seeds
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Using a flame torch for site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants growing from seed in a burn pile site
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Using a flame torch for site prep
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants in seeded into burn pile
Native plants growing from seed in a burn pile site
Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
After site prep the thatch and duff layer are burned off and the area is ready for native seeds

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Lupinus albifrons seed

Closely Observe Native Seeds As You Sow Seeds This Fall

Fall is a good time to sow native plant seeds!

Here at Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) we spend a lot of time photographing flowers and plants during the growing season; however, this time of year, as plants go dormant and we clean and package seeds for sale, we focus on taking pictures of the seeds themselves in order to help people get to know native plants on a more intimate level. Getting to know the seeds of native plants helps deepen the understanding of a plant’s lifecycle, growing habit, and reproduction.

As you sow native plant seeds this fall and winter take the time to closely observe the structure of the seeds you are planting. Aren’t they amazing? The color, texture, smell, and shape of a seed is as fascinating as the plants that emerge from them. Below is a selection of photos we would like to share that features a wide variety of seeds from native plants of the Klamath-Siskiyou region. Enjoy!

Balsamorhiza deltoidea seed
Deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea)
Plectritis congesta seed
Shortspur seablush (Plectritis congesta)
Madia elegans seed
Elegant tarweed (Madia elegans)
Lomatium nudicaule seed
Pestle lomatium (Lomatium nudicaule)
Lupinus albifrons seed
Silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons)
Festuca roemeri seed
Roemer’s fescue (Festuca roemeri)
Gilia capitata seed
Bluehead gilia (Gilia capitata)
Grindelia nana seed
Idaho gumweed (Grindelia nana)
Eschscholzia californica seed
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Collomia grandiflora seed
Grand collomia (Collomia grandiflora)
Eriogonum compositum seed
Arrowleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum)
Collinsia grandiflora seed
Blue eyed mary (Collinsia grandiflora)
Cynoglossum grande seed
Hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum grande)
Cirsium occidentale seed
Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale)
Wyethia angustifolia seed
Mule’s ears (Wyethia angustifolia)
Clarkia rhomboidea seed
Diamond clarkia (Clarkia rhomboidea)
brown creeper_Frank Lospalluto

Biodiversity for the Birds

brown creeper_Frank Lospalluto
Brown creeper Photo: Frank Lospalluto

Want to support bird populations in your yard or on your land? Plant native plants!

New research has shown that the prevalence of non-native landscape and garden plants reduces the population of insectivorous birds. Because most birds rely on insects for food for themselves and their young, and because many insects are unable to use non-native plants, birds are less prevalent in areas with high percentages of non-native plants. 

The research has shown that the threshold for habitat is 70%. That is, if a yard contains at least 70% native plants it will provide enough insects for food for viable populations of birds.

yellow warbler_Frank Lospalluto
Yellow warbler Photo: Frank Lospalluto

As humans alter landscapes and transform native plant communities into developments with non-native plant landscaping and gardens, there is less and less habitat for insects, and less and less habitat for birds and many other native species. Plant biodiversity is important for insects like pollinators, as well as for all wildlife, including birds that need native plants in order to sustain healthy populations. Even in areas where human infrastructure dominates, planting native plants is vital to support local food webs.

Although the newly published research has been done by researchers associated with the University of Delaware, the implications are far reaching and applicable to the western U.S. as well.

Check out this article in Science Daily about this new research by Desiree L. Narango, Douglas W. Tallamy and Peter P. Marra: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181023130340.htm

You can also  read the abstract or pay to view the full paper through the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/10/16/1809259115

bushtit_Frank Lospalluto
Bushtit Photo: Frank Lospalluto
Plectritis congesta-Sea blush

Fall Germinating Seeds

Plectritis congesta-Sea blush
Plectritis congesta-Sea blush

Although it seems counterintuitive, many native species have seed that germinates in the fall. Seeds respond to fall rain or dew set that moistens the soil and triggers fall germination. This strategy enables these species to overwinter as a small rosette of leaves, ready to bolt and flower as soon as the weather warms in the spring. These cool season species get a jump start on growth in the fall in order to be more established before blooming.

In order to help these species achieve fall germination the seeds must be sown outside around the time of the first fall rain. The warm fall soil temperatures and rain trigger seed germination. For some species it is important to have them sown before the first significant fall rain comes, as this enables the seed to have enough moisture to germinate before the temperatures turn really cold.

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds offers seed for the following annual species of wildflowers with seed that can germinate in the fall.

Clarkia rhomboidea-Diamond clarkia

Plectritis congesta-Sea blush
Plectritis congesta-Sea blush

 

Gilia capitata-Bluehead gilia

Plectritis congesta-Sea blush
Plectritis congesta-Sea blush

 

Plectritis congesta-Shortspur sea blush

Plectritis congesta-Sea blush
Plectritis congesta-Sea blush

 

Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius

Buy KSNS seeds and plants at the Talent Harvest Festival

Come visit our booth at the Talent Harvest Festival on October 6th!

Douglas aster-Symphyotrichum subspicatum
Douglas aster-Symphyotrichum subspicatum
Oregon sunshine-Eriophyllum lanatum
Oregon sunshine-Eriophyllum lanatum
Blue elderberry-Sambucus nigra spp.caerulea
Blue elderberry-Sambucus nigra spp.caerulea
Sharptooth angelica-Angelica arguta
Sharptooth angelica-Angelica arguta
Deltoid balsamroot-Balsamorhiza deltoidea
Deltoid balsamroot-Balsamorhiza deltoidea
Bigelow's sneezeweed-Helenium bigelovii
Bigelow’s sneezeweed-Helenium bigelovii
California buckeye-Aesculus californica
California buckeye-Aesculus californica
Leafybract aster-Symphyotrichum foliaceum
Leafybract aster-Symphyotrichum foliaceum
False turtlehead-Nothochelone nemorosa
False turtlehead-Nothochelone nemorosa
California spikenard-Aralia californica
California spikenard-Aralia californica
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Thimbleberry-Rubus parviflorus
Thimbleberry-Rubus parviflorus
Western verbena-Verbena lasiostachys
Western verbena-Verbena lasiostachys
Blue mountain penstemon-Penstemon laetus
Blue mountain penstemon-Penstemon laetus
Silver bush lupine-Lupinus albifrons
Silver bush lupine-Lupinus albifrons
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Showy milkweed-Asclepias speciosa
Showy milkweed-Asclepias speciosa
Bolander's madia-Kyhosia bolanderi
Bolander’s madia-Kyhosia bolanderi
Horsemint-Agastache urticifolia
Horsemint-Agastache urticifolia
Columbia monkshood-Aconitum columbianum
Columbia monkshood-Aconitum columbianum
Narrowleaf milkweed-Asclepias fascicularis
Narrowleaf milkweed-Asclepias fascicularis
Chokecherry-Prunus virginiana
Chokecherry-Prunus virginiana
Great basin sage-Artemisia tridentata
Great basin sage-Artemisia tridentata
Roemer's fescue-Festuca roemeri
Roemer’s fescue-Festuca roemeri
Waxy coneflower-Rudbeckia glaucescens
Waxy coneflower-Rudbeckia glaucescens
Sulphur flower buckwheat-Eriogonum umbellatum
Sulphur flower buckwheat-Eriogonum umbellatum

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) will have a booth at the Talent Harvest Festival on October 6th. We will have a variety of native seed packets for sale as well as many potted native plants grown from our locally wildcrafted native seeds. Since we don’t ship live plants this is a great opportunity to purchase plants for fall planting.

For many years KSNS has been the go-to source for retail native seeds in southern Oregon and northern California. Our motto, Grow Native-Grow Wild, says it all. We want to provide a wide diversity of native plant seeds from the wild to enhance botanical diversity and native plant conservation.

Can’t make the Talent Harvest Festival? Purchase local native seeds from throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou region through mailorder on our website.  KSNS offers nearly 150 species of native seed! You won’t find this wide selection anywhere else in the region. Shop for native seeds now!

Douglas aster-Symphyotrichum subspicatum
Douglas aster-Symphyotrichum subspicatum
Oregon sunshine-Eriophyllum lanatum
Oregon sunshine-Eriophyllum lanatum
Blue elderberry-Sambucus nigra spp.caerulea
Blue elderberry-Sambucus nigra spp.caerulea
Sharptooth angelica-Angelica arguta
Sharptooth angelica-Angelica arguta
Deltoid balsamroot-Balsamorhiza deltoidea
Deltoid balsamroot-Balsamorhiza deltoidea
Bigelow's sneezeweed-Helenium bigelovii
Bigelow’s sneezeweed-Helenium bigelovii
California buckeye-Aesculus californica
California buckeye-Aesculus californica
Leafybract aster-Symphyotrichum foliaceum
Leafybract aster-Symphyotrichum foliaceum
False turtlehead-Nothochelone nemorosa
False turtlehead-Nothochelone nemorosa
California spikenard-Aralia californica
California spikenard-Aralia californica
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Thimbleberry-Rubus parviflorus
Thimbleberry-Rubus parviflorus
Western verbena-Verbena lasiostachys
Western verbena-Verbena lasiostachys
Blue mountain penstemon-Penstemon laetus
Blue mountain penstemon-Penstemon laetus
Silver bush lupine-Lupinus albifrons
Silver bush lupine-Lupinus albifrons
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Arrowleaf buckwheat-Eriogonum compositum
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Coyote mint-Monardella odoratissima
Showy milkweed-Asclepias speciosa
Showy milkweed-Asclepias speciosa
Bolander's madia-Kyhosia bolanderi
Bolander’s madia-Kyhosia bolanderi
Horsemint-Agastache urticifolia
Horsemint-Agastache urticifolia
Columbia monkshood-Aconitum columbianum
Columbia monkshood-Aconitum columbianum
Narrowleaf milkweed-Asclepias fascicularis
Narrowleaf milkweed-Asclepias fascicularis
Chokecherry-Prunus virginiana
Chokecherry-Prunus virginiana
Great basin sage-Artemisia tridentata
Great basin sage-Artemisia tridentata
Roemer's fescue-Festuca roemeri
Roemer’s fescue-Festuca roemeri
Waxy coneflower-Rudbeckia glaucescens
Waxy coneflower-Rudbeckia glaucescens
Sulphur flower buckwheat-Eriogonum umbellatum
Sulphur flower buckwheat-Eriogonum umbellatum

Coming to the Talent Harvest Festival? Check out the following list of selected potted native plants KSNS will have at our booth. Fall is the perfect time to plant native seeds and native potted plants. See you there!

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum-Douglas aster

Native Fall-blooming Asters

Symphyotrichum subspicatum-Douglas aster
Douglas aster (Symphyotrichum subspicatum)

The aster family of plants is a large, diverse plant family that includes species that range from common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), to narrowleaf mule’s ears (Wyethia angustifolia). However, when you hear the word aster, you generally think of purple fall-blooming asters that used to be classified in the genus Aster.

Symphyotrichum foliaceum-Leafybract aster
Leafybract aster (Symphyotrichum foliaceum) and pollinating wasp

Up until the 1990s the genus Aster contained 600 species in Eurasia and North America. After morphological and molecular research all but one plant within the genus Aster in North America was reclassified as other related genera. There are now only 180 plants within the genus Aster, mostly confined to Eurasia. North American asters are now in genera such as Dieteria, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Heterotheca, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum, etc. Although the name of the genera have changed, most common names still include the name aster, for example, Leafybract aster is now Symphyotrichum foliaceum.

Fall is the time to celebrate native asters!

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Landscaped native plant meadow in the Siskiyou Mountains

The Versatility of Native Plants

Native plants can be used in a wide variety of ways. Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds has provided native plant seeds for the following applications.

Native Plant Habitat Restoration

Whether our clients are looking for a small amount of seed for a small-scale native plant habitat restoration project, or many pounds of seed for a large-scale restoration project on their land or land they manage, Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds meets our clients’ needs. We have provided seed for many successful native seeding projects on private and public land.

Landscaped native plant meadow in the Siskiyou Mountains
Wildflower meadow restoration near a home in the Siskiyou Mountains.
Grindelia nana-Idaho gumweed
Grindelia nana-Idaho gumweed
Wildflower meadow restoration near a home in the Siskiyou Mountains.
Landscaping with natives in the Klamath-Siskiyou
Landscaping with natives in the Klamath-Siskiyou
Lupinus latifolius-Broad leaved lupine
Broad leaved lupine (Lupinus latifolius)
Landscaping with natives in the Klamath-Siskiyou
Ageratina occidentalis-Western joepiweed
Western joepiweed (Ageratina occidentalis)
Eriogonum umbellatum-Sulphur flower buckwheat
Sulphur flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum)
Landscaping with natives in the Klamath-Siskiyou
Penstemon laetus-Mountain blue penstemon
Blue mountain penstemon (Penstemon laetus)

Native Plant Grow-out and Nursery Production

We provide native plant seed to many native plant nurseries on the West Coast, as well as for our own small nursery in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. Growing native plants for large-scale habitat restoration and smaller garden applications gives our clients and customers a jump start on plant growth for their planting projects.

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Camassia_leichtlinii_Large_camas

Busy Seed Collection Season

It’s been a busy seed collection season!

Because of the world-class biodiversity of the Klamath-Siskiyou region and the wide variety of native plant species in the area, the timing of seed collection is also quite varied. In order to collect seeds from low elevations on up to high elevations, and early to late blooming species, our seed collection season generally starts in mid-May and ends in late October. We are currently at the height of the seed collection season.

This time of year we are out in the field many days a week collecting seeds — bear with us if we don’t return your email right away — and working hard to keep up with seed processing and cleaning on the days we aren’t in the field. We also have numerous habitat restoration projects and planting and design projects we are working on, plus growing native plants in our small native plant nursery. It’s a busy time of year!

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Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)

Oregon Sunshine Shines

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) is a known as a “workhorse species.” It germinates well from seed, establishes easy in soil with good drainage, is deer resistant, drought tolerant, and is an amazingly attractive pollinator plant. Oregon sunshine is an important part of many native planting or seeding projects. It performs well as a component of wildflower seed mixes for habitat restoration, as part of a backyard wildflower meadow, in rock gardens, or as a showpiece ornamental plant. Oregon sunshine’s easy-going versatility makes it a good choice for many applications. It attracts native bees, beetles, pollinating flies, moths, and butterflies. It is also a larval host plant for various butterfly species.

Bring a little sunshine into your life by planting Oregon sunshine!

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) in wildflower meadow

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) in wildflower meadow
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) in the landscape
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)
Hastingsia alba-White rushlily

Bumble bees love white rushlily (Hastingsia alba)

Bumble bees love white rushlily (Hastingsia alba)!

Native to southern Oregon and northern California, white rushlily inhabits wet meadows, bogs, springs and rocky seeps. It easily adapts to the garden environment and will thrive in full sun to part-shade in an area that stays moist through early summer with good drainage. It can tolerate dry conditions in the later half of the summer. Bumble bees love white rushlily!

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds