Download the compiled Great Basin Factsheet Series 2016: Information and tools to conserve and restore Great Basin ecosystems.

For hard copies of the compilation, contact Génie MontBlanc, Great Basin Fire Science Exchange Coordinator, at (775) 784-1107 or

Seeding Techniques for Sagebrush Community Restoration After Fire

seeding technique sage grouseMarch 22, 2016

(Photo above: rangeland drill modified to allow for different sizes of seeds in alternate rows.)

Great Basin Fact Sheet No. 14: Seeding Techniques for Sagebrush Community Restoration After Fire

By: Jeff Ott, Anne Halford, and Nancy Shaw


Great Basin sagebrush communities are experiencing widespread degradation due to the introduction of invasive annual weeds and disturbances that promote weed expansion, including inappropriate grazing and fire. The rehabilitation model of post-fire seeding (where rapid establishment of perennial cover is the primary objective) is increasingly
being replaced by a restoration model that includes plant community diversity and wildlife habitat as desired outcomes. This fact sheet outlines important considerations and options for post-fire seeding, including the selection of seed mixes and seeding equipment for restoring sagebrush communities following fire. The emphasis
is on lower-elevation communities where restoration needs are greatest.

* Other fact sheets in this series provide complementary information on seeding big sagebrush and establishing shrubs from planting stock.

In Brief:

  • Post-fire seeding increasingly emphasizes restoration of plant community diversity and
    wildlife habitat, requiring seeding techniques for a variety of seed types.
  • Low-elevation sagebrush communities are often priority areas for post-fire seeding, but they require careful planning and sometimes multiple treatments to ensure seeding success.
  • Information is available to assist in making decisions regarding seed sources, seeding rates,
    and species compatibility when formulating seed mixes for post-fire seedings.
  • Seeding equipment should be selected based on terrain, seedbed and burial depth requirements of seeded species, and potential impacts to residual plants and biological soil crusts.
  • Rangeland drills can be modified to place seeds of different sizes in different rows allowing smaller seeds to be placed on the surface rather than in furrows, thus increasing the probability of establishment.

Click here or on the image below to download a PDF of the full fact sheet.

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The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.