Tracking Survival of GZ Restoration Planting

Four years of survival data, collected each year in May, useful for guiding subsequent planting. The counts include some imprecision. Collected by two FoSP members in just a couple of hours each year.

By 2014, 90% of the sword ferns in this quarter-acre site (“Ground Zero” or “GZ”) had died. Since sword ferns made up almost all of the understory here, the entire quarter-act was left mostly bare.

In early 2019, contractors employed by Seattle Parks installed 400 plants in GZ proper, as well as further east and west on the same slope. Few ferns had survived here. FoSP eventually received permission to track survival by species of these 400 plants. We offer these data to inform adaptive management of restoration of bare ground areas at Seward Park: it makes little sense to plant species with little chance of survival.

No natural regeneration occurred for five years, at which time a few fringecups appeared. They have not since spread in any significant numbers.

Seattle Parks and FoSP have each intervened to speed the recovery of the area in and around GZ In 2018, FoSP planted 24 sword ferns on the hypothesis that the presumed pathogen – the cause of the die-off – was no longer present. Watering each of these ferns through three summers, we have been pleased to see 100% survival. These ferns are part of a 5-year experiment documented here (link coming soon).