Skip to main content
Scott M. Lambert
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Recovery after fire
Sagebrush steppe

NRFSN number: 8421
FRAMES RCS number: 12472
Record updated:

This paper describes methods of managing or seeding to restore big sagebrush communities for wildlife habitat. The focus is on three big sagebrush subspecies, Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata), and mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana). Natural colonization of the native plant community may be the preferred management action on sites where native seed sources are available to successfully reestablish the desired wildlife habitat. On highly disturbed or otherwise damaged sites and where competition from weeds is excessive, seeding will be utilized to restore big sagebrush for wildlife habitat. Big sagebrush seed is never seeded alone in site rehabilitation and restoration projects. The best time to seed or interseed big sagebrush seed mixes, including grasses and forbs, is in late fall or early winter. The overall best method to reestablish big sagebrush is to use a rangeland drill at a shallow setting following site preparation, including tillage and weed control. When big sagebrush is drill seeded with other seed types, it is recommended that it be seeded through a separate drill box to permit very shallow seeding and proper seed placement for plant establishment. Seedings of native plants, including big sagebrush, should be protected from grazing for at least 3 to 5 years to allow time for the shrubs and forbs to become established.


Lambert, Scott M. 2005. Seeding considerations in restoring big sagebrush habitat. In: Shaw, Nancy L.; Pellant, Mike; Monsen, Stephen B., eds. Sage-grouse habitat restoration, symposium proceedings; 2001 June 4-7; Boise, ID. Proceedings RMRS-P-38. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 75-80.