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Danthonia (spicata)

Martin van der Grinten
USDA NRCS - Big Flats Plant Materials Center
RD #1, Route 352, Box 360A
Corning, New York 14830-0360
(607) 562-8404
(607) 562-8516 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Poaceae
Family Common Name: Grass
Scientific Name: Danthonia spicata (L.) Beauv. Ex Roemer & J. A. Schultes
Common Name: Poverty Oatgrass
Species Code: DASP2
Ecotype: Mt. Desert Island, Maine
General Distribution: The plant is found in the eastern half of the United States.
This plant likes dry to sterile or rocky soils.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Time To Grow: 0
Target Specifications: Stock Type: plant plugs, 1" x 1" x 4" cell size. Height: 3 to 5 inches. Root System: Firm plug with good root system.
Propagule Collection: Collected in Acadia National Park, Maine by Martin van der Grinten.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: This seed is hand harvested in mid to late July. The seed was first hammermilled and then run across the Clipper Midget II seedcleaner, using 1/12 round top screen, blank bottom screen and air 15% open.
Seeds/Kg: 448,000 seeds per pound.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: None.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Greenhouse for seeding at 70ø F and lathe house for growing and hardening off.

Seed Propagation Method: Seed is sown in Rootrainersin the greenhouse in late winter using Metro-Mix 250. There is germination in about 14 days.

Container Type and Volume: Rootrainer with 1" x 1" x 4" cell size.

Growing Media: Metro-Mix 360 media.
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: Seed is sown into Rootrainers in greenhouse in late winter.

Sowing/Planting Technique: A few seeds are sown in each planting cell, lightly
covered with Metro-Mix 360 and firmed. Germination is rather uniform within 14 days. Monitor watering daily.

Establishment Phase: The plant cells will fill in and have a nice planting plug for spring/early summer planting.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: The plugs can be planted easily in the field, using a
planting dibble.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: The Rootrainers of grass are moved to the lathe house from the greenhouse prior to being transplanted in the field. Plants can be fertilized with Miracle-Gro and monitored for watering.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Seed is harvested mid to late July.

Storage Conditions: Store at 40ø F in seed cooler.
Other Comments: An attempt to establish a seed production by using plug transplants was made with poor success. The poverty oatgrass plants are small, with only a few seedheads per plant. The production field had plants, but with such small seedheads, the volume of seed produced was minimal. Closer spacing of plants within the row mightimprove the stand and increase the seed yield. Also, this seed production field was established on silt loam soils and maybe establishing production
fields on a sandier soil would definitely be beneficial to increase yield. Having seen natural stands on sandy soil produce larger amounts of seed,
the soil type was robably a significant factor in low seed yields.
References: Manual of the Grasses of the U.S., Hitchcock, USDA Publication 200, 1951.

Grasses - An ID Guide, Brown, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1979.

Native Grass Seed Production Manual, Smith & Smith, Ducks Unlimited Canada, 1996.


Van Der Grinten, Martin. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Danthonia spicata (L.) Beauv. Ex Roemer & J. A. Schultes plants USDA NRCS - Big Flats Plant Materials Center Corning, New York. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/05/13). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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