Flash flaming effectively removes appendages and improves the seed coating potential of grass florets
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© 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration. Ecological restoration of grasslands using wild-collected seeds is a major undertaking in many parts of the world. Impediments to effective seed use such as low seed quality, difficult-to-handle and bulky collections of seeds, and seed dormancy and germination constraints contribute to restoration failure. Native grass florets are typically irregular in shape, with appendages that impede efficient mechanized sowing and render agricultural technologies, such as the application of polymer seed coatings, impractical. Our goal was to investigate the application of a novel flaming device to remove floret appendages and improve geometry using Triodia wiseana (C.A. Gardner [Poaceae]), a key framework grass of arid ecosystems in north-western Australia, as a test species. Through the modification of a rotary seed coater with an engineered flaming apparatus, a flash flaming technique was developed. We demonstrate that flash flaming is a highly effective and efficient means of removing floret appendages and subsequently improving geometry. Once flamed, the bulk density of florets was significantly increased, the application of polymer coatings was more effective, and germination was enhanced. The improved floret geometry through flaming therefore shows promise for enhancing the mechanization of direct seeding of grasses.
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