Seed Ball Project – Fall Update

Posted Nov 01, 2020

In June 2020, the Phoenix chapter began a pilot project in collaboration with the Maricopa Native Seed Library to study the success of using seeds balls as a method to add native plants to home landscapes. Seed balls are widely used, but there are few published studies about them. So we’ve teamed up to study their germination success in various residential locations throughout the Valley.

The seed balls contain a mix of 13 native species. Thirty participants “planted” two seeds balls at their home in July 2020. Since then, we are following up with them monthly to monitor any germination that appears to be the result of the seed balls. The poor monsoon season this year got the project off to a slow start, as the seed balls require several heavy rainfalls (or regular supplemental watering) to fully disintegrate into the soil.

As of October 2020, three participants have observed seedlings in the area where they planted their seed balls. We will continue to check in with participants over the coming months to track germination success. Hopefully we’ll have some good fall and winter rainstorms to help the seeds germinate in time for spring!

A sideoats gramma (Bouteloua curtipendula) grass seedling spouting from a partially disintegrated seed ball. The seed balls were handmade by the Maricopa Native Seed Library for this collaborative project. Photo credit: Laurie Nessel

For more information about the seed ball project, please contact Danielle Carlock at