Tamaulipan thornforests in south Texas and northeast Mexico are a conservation hotspot. Shortages of native seedlings limit regional restoration and are largely driven by knowledge gaps regarding propagation of the 75+ thornforest species planted during restorations. We previously investigated three thornforest species with low or inconsistent germination or seedling survival: Ebenopsis ebano (Fabaceae), Cordia boissieri (Boraginaceae), and Zanthoxylum fagara (Rutaceae), and identified the types and dosages of chemical seed treatments that maximized germination. However, chemical treatments were performed in isolation and combinational treatments may be required to break dormancy or maximize germination. This study builds on prior work by investigating the effects of all possible combinations of sulfuric acid (SA), gibberellic acid (GA), and indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) treatments on germination of the same focal species, and further quantified the combined effects of five chemical treatments, three stratification treatments, and six soil mixture types on the germination and seedling performance of the focal species. Ebenopsis ebano germination peaked with SA and was not improved with additional chemical treatments. Cordia boissieri germination was highest with GA only in our indoor experiment but peaked with GA + IBA + SA in our outdoor experiment. Zanthoxylum fagara germination was near zero in all treatments. Stratification treatments marginally reduced E. ebano germination and reduced C. boissieri seedling height. Soil type had significant impacts on E. ebano germination and leaf abundance (residual differences up to 40% or 4 leaves, respectively) and influenced some of the effects of chemical treatments. These results enhance our understanding of thornforest seed ecology and best practices for nursery propagation of seedlings.
Luera, P.; Gabler, C.A. Combined Effects of Scarification, Phytohormones, Stratification, and Soil Type on the Germination and/or Seedling Performance of Three Tamaulipan Thornscrub Forest Species. Plants 2022, 11, 2687. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11202687
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