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Andropogon (virginicus)

John M. Englert
USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
Bldg. 509, BARC - East, E. Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
(301) 504-8175
(301) 504-8741 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Poaceae
Family Common Name: Grass Family
Scientific Name: Andropogon virginicus L.
Common Name: Broomsedge
Species Code: ANDVIR
Ecotype: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, Foothills Parkway, Cades Cove; Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Virginia, Lewis Hollow, 1400' elevation; National Capital Parks-East, Washington, D.C., Oxon Run
General Distribution: Andropogon virginicu grows from Massachusetts and New York west to Michigan and Kansas, and south to Florida, Texas, and Mexico; it grows in old fields, open woods, on sterile hills and sandy soil.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: Container plug
Time To Grow: 3 Months
Target Specifications: Height: 8-10, after cutbacks at outplanting; multiple stems. Root System: Full, firm plug which leaves no loose soil when pulled.
Propagule Collection: Collected in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, by NPS staff 11/23/93, 10/31/96; Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Virginia, by J. Englert 10/15/90; National Capital Parks-East, Washington, D.C., by S. Rudy 11/20/98, 1/20/99; National Plant Materials Center, Maryland, by D. Dusty
10/20/96, 12/11/96, 12/29/97, 1/4-6/99.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Seeds are cleaned using a debearder and seed clipper.
Seeds/Kg: 10,000,000.
Germination: 32% (test) Greenhouse germination has been around 8 or 9% or 800-900 plugs/gram of seed. Goals have been exceeded because seed is so small.
Purity: 93%.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Greenhouse with alternating day/night temperatures (set at 75/68F) and 12-14 hours of daylight extended with high-pressure sodium lights.

Container Type and Volume: Seeds are sown in 392 plug trays; seedlings are transplanted to either 72 plug trays or Ropak multipots depending whether out-planted mechanically or hand dibbled.

Growing Media: Seeds are hand-sown in Fafard Germinating Mix. Seedlings are transplanted into a 2:1 mix of Sunshine #5:Compro (1 bale Sunshine:2 bags Compro, with 180 day Nutricote Total (18-6-8) SR incorporated @ 20 oz./batch of mix
(0.151b/cu ft mix). Compro is used to prevent chlorosis. Other organic substitutes for Compro are being evaluated.
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: Early winter.

Emergence and Date: 50% of the total number of seedlings germinate in the first 3-4 days; 100% in 2 weeks.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seed is hand-sown into 392 plug trays at a rate computed to produce target number of plugs and compensate for low germination rate. Seeds are very lightlycovered with germination mix, and watered. The plug trays are placed on heat mats (set at 75-80F) and covered with clear lightweight plastic. Trays are kept moist and on mats for 7-10 days. Germination occurs within 3-4 days, most plugs have multiple seedlings.

Establishment Phase: Transplanted to 72 plug flats or Ropak multipots about 30 days after germination. Seedlings are thinned as needed. A. virginicus seedlings germinate and grow more rapidly than A. gerardii and Schizachyrium scoparium.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Occurs when greenhouse solar levels increase in the spring.
Established plugs are cut back periodically to 6-8" to enhance root and stem growth and to manually eliminate insect pests. Plugs are fertilized as needed (every 1-2 weeks) with Technigro 16-17-17 Plus, @ 100 ppm.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: 2-3 weeks prior to out-planting, fertilization is stopped, water is decreased, and greenhouse temperatures are reduced or plugs are moved outdoors.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: winter-grown greenhouse plugs are ready for out-planting about 90 days after they germinate.

Storage Conditions: N/A.
Other Comments: Compro has been added to the soil mix to prevent chlorosis that occurs in several species of warm season grasses grown in soilless media. Actino-iron, organic matter and other potting mixes are being evaluated as a substitute for Compro.
References: Manual of the Grasses of the United States, Hitchcock, 2nd edition, U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1950.


Kujawski, Jennifer L.; Davis, Kathy M.. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Andropogon virginicus L. plants Container plug; USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/09/18). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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