Impacts of mulch on prairie seedling establishment: facilitative to inhibitory effects

  • Published source details Mollard F.P., Naeth M.A. & Cohen-Fernandez A. (2014) Impacts of mulch on prairie seedling establishment: facilitative to inhibitory effects. Ecological Engineering, 64, 377-384.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add mulch before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Add mulch before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, controlled study in 2012 in a former arable field in Alberta, Canada (Mollard et al. 2014; same experimental setup as Mollard et al. 2016) found that adding mulch before sowing seeds increased the number of seedlings in most cases compared to sowing without mulch. In three of four comparisons, there were more seedlings in plots where mulch was added alongside sowing of seeds (39–54 seedlings/m2) than in plots where seeds were sown but no mulch was added (9 seedlings/m2). However, in one of four comparisons, seedling emergence did not differ significantly in plots that were mulched and seeded (25 seedlings/m2) compared to those that were not mulched and seeded (9 seedlings/m2). In May 2012, the site was sprayed with glyphosate herbicide, tilled to a depth of 10 cm, and fenced to exclude livestock. Mulch (wheat straw or hay) was added to twenty-four 2 × 2 m plots, following which plots were sown with five grass species at a rate of 250 seeds/plot. In six plots, seeds were sown but no mulch was added. Seedling emergence was recorded in each plot every two weeks in July–September 2012.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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