There are five major types of indigenous management activities conducted in California that were designed to ensure future corm production at traditional gathering sites: 1) conscious breaking off cormlets from the harvested parent corms and replanting them; 2) sparing whole plants; 3) harvesting the corms after plants have gone to seed and dumping the seeds in the hole; 4) burning areas; and 5) irrigation. Periodic digging and thinning of the corms, and popping off the cormlets, and replanting them may enhance blue dicks numbers and densities. Digging corms may in fact be a form of tillage, which will increase the size of the gathering tract, aerate the soil, lower weed competition, and prepare the seedbed to increase seed germination rates. If blue dicks populations require periodic disturbance to maintain and increase their populations, then indigenous harvesting regimes, if reenacted, may help maintain populations. At the very least, populations that become overcrowded and show reduced vigor should be divided and separated.
Traditionally, various tribes in California have burned areas of blue dicks to reduce plant competition, facilitate gathering, recycle nutrients, and increase the size and number of corms. Today grasslands that have been burned may exhibit thousands of blue dicks plants where none appeared to occur before. Corms and bulbs may sit for a decade or more and wait for fire or other favorable environmental conditions before breaking ground. Suppression of fire may cause increased shade and plant competition and decrease population numbers of blue dicks.
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