Globally, mining is vital to human interests, but its practice can cause landscape alteration which may look unnatural or engineered. The reintroduction of native plants to these areas is needed to restore the visual appeal and ecological function back into these altered mine lands. Cercocarpus ledifolius (curl-leaf mountain mahogany) is one desirable native species in the Intermountain West that is prized for its potential to grow on step and rocky hillsides and for the habitat it provides for wildlife. Unfortunately, C. ledifolius does not establish well from seed, which has been attributed to seed dormancy. The first objective of this study was to determine if scarification and gibberellic acid (GA3) treatments improve germination by alleviating seed dormancy. We also aimed to determine if a combination of fungicide and hydrophobic seed coatings increased emergence and establishment of C. ledifolius seedlings in mine overburden by reducing loss from fungal pathogens and premature germination. We found that two treatments, GA3 and GA3 + hydrophobic coatings, improved emergence compared to untreated seed, producing 1.8 (P = 0.0682), and 2.2 (P = 0.0751) more seedlings per meter, respectively. The second objective of this study was to make improvements in the laboratory to treatments explored in the field trial. We found that C. ledifolius seed responded inconsistently to treatments applied in the lab. The 15-minute acid scarified seed in combination with various GA3 seed coatings had significantly higher germination than untreated seed in one trial but had no difference in a second trial. Overall, these results indicate that seed enhancement technologies have the potential to improve C. ledifolius emergence in reclaimed mine lands, but additional research is needed to understand the species' dormancy characteristics better and improve the efficacy of the applied seed treatments.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





restoration, seed enhancement technology, mine revegetation, seed dormancy



Included in

Life Sciences Commons