Using mechanical equipment to modify the seedling environment

TitleUsing mechanical equipment to modify the seedling environment
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication1972
AuthorsHerbel C.H.
Date Published1972
InstitutionWildland Shrubs--Their Ecology and Utilization, U.S. Department of Agriculture, General Technical Report INT-1
Keywordsgovernment publication, mechanical equipment, microenvironment, seedling environment
AbstractIn arid and semiarid zones, the soil surface is infrequently moistened and the evaporation rate is high. Establishing seedlings is often difficult because of an adverse microenvironment (rapid drying, unfavorable temperatures and crusting of the soil surface). Accordingly, the primary objective of seeding procedures is to place the seed in a favorable environment for germination and establishment of the seedling. This often requires varying the procedure to fit the site. Good seedbed preparation for range seeding in some areas involves retaining a firm seedbed that favors infiltration and storage of moisture and leaving a trash-covered surface (Pearse, 1952). Shallow disking, or other treatment that reduces weed competition, generally accomplishes these objectives. More intensive tillage is usually avoided not only because of increased cost but also because of the problem of excessive disturbance of the soil surface, bringing up heavier subsoils, or burying the friable topsoil and litter. Wind erosion is often a problem on loose, unprotected seedbeds. Loose seedbeds should be allowed to settle or be otherwise compacted before seeding. In this paper, press wheel is used to describe soil firming prior to seeding, and packer wheel is used to describe soil firming after seeding. A scalper blade is a sweep that removes debris and plant competition from a seeded row. Ripping is used to describe a method of fracturing a hardpan, plowpan, or other impenetrable layer that impedes infiltration of moisture. Pits are shallow indentations or basins made in the surface of the soil to retain water from rainfall or snowmelt on a site.