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Dichanthelium (commutatum)

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: Dichanthelium commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould
Common Name: Variable panicgrass
Species Code: DICCOM
Ecotype: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kentucky, 1150' elevation, Kentucky Portal
General Distribution: Dichanthelium commutatum grows in woods and thickets from Massachusetts to Michigan and Missouri, and south to Florida and Texas.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: Container plugs
Time To Grow: 11 Weeks
Target Specifications: Height: 6-8" at outplanting. Root System: Full, firm plug which leaves no loose soil when pulled.
Propagule Collection: Collected in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park by R. Russell on 10/15/90; National Plant Materials Center, Maryland by D. Dusty on 10/9/96, 10/17/97 and 9/30/98.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Seeds are separated from chaff using a 2-screen seed clipper.
Seed storage: Seed bags in NPMC seed cooler at 40F and 35% relative humidity.
Seed dormancy: Germination is improved with 7-14 days of heat and moisture.
Seeds/Kg: 540,000.
Germination: 75% (test); Greenhouse germination has been around 8-9% of total seeds planted, or about 45 plugs per gram of seed. Rates of sowing are increased to compensate. Unknown if there is a dormancy issue.
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.

Seed Propagation Method: hand sown into plug trays.

Container Type and Volume: 1) Seed is sown in 392 plug trays and seedlings are transplanted to either 72 plug trays or Ropak multipots. 2) Seed is directly sown into 72 plug trays or Ropak multipots.

Growing Media: 1) Seeds are sown in Fafard Germinating Mix and seedlings are transplanted into a 2:1 mix of Sunshine #5:Compro (1 bale Sunshine and 2 bags of Compro), with 180 day Nutricote Total Plus (18-6-8) SR incorporated @ 20 oz/batch of mix. 2) Seeds are direct sown into a 1/4 to 1/2
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: February for spring planting; July for fall planting.

Emergence and Date: 50% of total seedlings emerge in 14 days; the balance by 3 weeks after sowing.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seed is sown into 392 plug trays or direct sown into 72 or Ropak multipots (see "Growing Media"), lightly covered with germination mix, and watered. The plug trays are placed on heat mats (7SF) and under mist for about 1 week during winter or just under mist during summer.

Establishment Phase: If started in 392 plug trays, seedlings are transplanted to 72 plug fiats or Ropak multipots about 30 days after germination. If direct-sown, germination in cells may be uneven requiring division of some cells to fill gaps in others. Seedlings from a 392-plug tray may also be transplanted into empty cells.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid growth phase: Occurs when greenhouse solar levels increase in the spring. Plugs are fertilized as needed with Technigro 16-17-17 Plus.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: 2-3 weeks prior to outplanting, 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 75 days after they germinate or late spring, early summer. July- planted plugs are field planted at NPMC in late September, early October.

Storage Conditions: N/A.
Length of Storage: <b>Storage Duration:</b> N/A.
Other Comments: Seed is very heavily sown to compensate for low germination rates experienced in the greenhouse. Summer-planted seedlings appear to be more vigorous.
References: Manual of Vascular Plants, Gleason and Cronquist, D. Van Nostrand Co., 1963.


Kujawski, Jennifer L.; Davis, Kathy M.. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Dichanthelium commutatum (J.A. Schultes) Gould plants Container plugs; USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/11/28). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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