Arizona - Tucson Plant Materials Center
Serving areas in the States of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah
Size: 42 acres
PMC Operation: NRCS
Land Ownership: NRCS
In 1934, the first Plant Materials Center was established in Tucson, Arizona, under the direction of F. J. Crider. During this time, the primary mission of the Tucson Plant Materials Center (AZPMC) was the production of nursery stock and the collection of large quantities of seeds for use on the Navajo, Gila, and Rio Grande regional projects. The Center’s mission has evolved to address current conservation needs such as erosion, drought, pollinator conservation, water quality, wildlife habitat, energy demands, and wildfire damage.
The Tucson Plant Materials Center service area encompasses the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts in areas of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Major land uses in this area include irrigated farmland, rangeland, and minelands. The Center develops and evaluates adapted plant materials and technologies for needs throughout the service area.
The Center’s conservation plant releases include a variety of conservation shrubs and grasses such as, ‘Loetta’ Arizona cottontop, Batamote Germplasm desert zinnia, Cochise Germplasm spike dropseed, Pima Germplasm Pima pappusgrass, and Vegas Germplasm alkali sacaton. Many of these releases were developed in collaboration with partners such as the Bureau of Land Management, University of Arizona, and the Agricultural Research Service.
In 1996, the Tucson Plant Materials Center was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
SOIL DEGRADATION AND DISTURBED LANDS
Conserve and enhance soil resources with plant science technology
Planting methodologies are developed to ensure survival and persistence of native species used in the revegetation of abandoned croplands, invasive species dominated lands, and wildfire affected areas.
The publications Seeding Information for Private Land Owners Affected by Southeastern Arizona Wilfires and Seeding Information for Private Landowners Affected by the Wallow Fire provide lists of potential species that can be used to revegetate burned areas on private lands. These publications were developed following the 2011 Arizona wildfires.
Develop native plant species and maintain foundation seed stocks for use in the implementation of Farm Bill programs.
Develop technology for the use of native hay bales to aid in establishment of native plant species on critically disturbed lands.
INCREASING DEMAND FOR AN ALREADY LIMITED WATER SUPPLY
Improve water quality and quantity with plant science technology
Cooperate with local non-profit organizations in the establishment of water harvesting demonstration sites throughout the Tucson area.
Develop procedures for “island” establishment of native species into sites dominated by exotic invasive grasses. Exotic invasive species compete with native species for the limited precipitation available in the Center’s service area. This work was in collaboration with the Audubon Society’s Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch.
On disturbed land, retired cropland or areas where water is limited, "Seco" barley (Hordeum vulgare), released by the AZPMC and/or other suitable cover crops species can aid in establishing vegetation and conserving water.
NATIVE PLANT SEED AVAILABILITY
Promote the commercial production of NRCS developed plants
Promote the production of native seed by providing foundation seed and technical assistance for the establishment of native plant production fields.
The publication, Native Plant Production, provides guidelines for producers interested in establishing native plant seed production fields.
Ensure long term seed availability and provide assistance to potential growers of native plants.
Tucson Plant Materials Center
3241 North Romero Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705-9223