Effects of planting method and seed mix richness on the early stages of tallgrass prairie restoration

  • Published source details Larson D.L., Bright J.B., Drobney P., Larson J.L., Palaia N., Rabie P.A., Vacek S. & Wells D. (2011) Effects of planting method and seed mix richness on the early stages of tallgrass prairie restoration. Biological Conservation, 144, 3127-3139.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Drill seed rather than seeding by hand

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Drill seed rather than seeding by hand

    A replicated, controlled study in 2005–2010 in nine ex-arable fields in Minnesota and Iowa, USA (Larson et al. 2011) found that using drill seeding had mixed effects on the cover of sown and non-native plants and plant species richness compared with sowing by hand. In four of 10 comparisons, cover of sown plant species was higher where a seed drill was used (35–71%) than where seeds were sown by hand (33–50%). In six of 10 comparisons, cover was lower or not significantly different where a seed drill was used (drill: 0–36%; hand: 0–52%). In three of 10 comparisons, the cover of non-native plant species was lower in areas where a seed drill was used (11–34%) than where seeds were sown by hand (25–41%), but in seven of ten comparisons it was not significantly different (drill: 11–34%, hand:11–45%). In two of four comparisons, species richness was lower where a seed drill was used (10 species) than where seeds were sown by hand (12–14 species), and in two comparisons, there was no significant difference (both 10 species). In each of nine fields, thirty-six 6 x 2 m plots were established. Seeds were sown in 12 plots using a seed drill, while in 24 plots seeds were sown by hand. Seed mixes contained 10–36 species representing a mixture of grasses, legumes and non-legume forbs. In mid-June to August 2005–2007 and 2010, vegetation cover in each plot was estimated using a 4 x 0.25 m quadrat, while species richness was estimated using 6 x 2 m plots.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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