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Characterising field emergence in cultivated herbaceous vegetation


Over the past 10 years, multi-disciplinary research in the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, has pioneered the establishment of decorative herbaceous vegetation in urban parks and greenspace by sowing seed in-situ. This eliminates the need for heated glasshouses, fertilisers, pesticides, irrigation water, plastic pots, peat, plus the energy consumed in the transportation of these materials associated with vegetation established by planting container grown nursery stock.

The resulting vegetation is taxonomically and spatially complex, provides a rich habitat for wildlife and is highly attractive to urban people. For these reasons it is desirable to establish more urban vegetation by sowing, but to do so, landscape architects must be confident that this emerging technology works and is reliable in terms of establishing the target species at appropriate densities. The proposed TOK will lead to the commercialization of these techniques through a partnership with an SME, Jelitto Seeds, who is the major producer and supplier of seeds of these species in Europe.

To achieve this successful commercialization a number of scientific questions must first be resolved;
- develop an easily undertaken, standardized screening technique to predict field emergence of non-agricultural herbaceous plants,
- characterize the field emergence of 1000 species of the herbaceous taxa sold by Jelitto,
- Test the reliability of the screening process in practice through field scale sowing experiments using formulated seed mix products.

The project involves 2 fellows; a seed industry person based at University of Sheffield, and the other a germination ecologist post doc based at Jelitto Seeds. The outcome of the research and training will be communicated to other researchers in the field and landscape practitioners via workshops and field days, papers in peer review and professional journals.

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Firth Court, Western Bank
United Kingdom

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1264 Schwarmstedt

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