Propagation forum: Deertongue grass (Dichanthelium clandestinum) and its seeds

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upat5
Oct 25, 2016 6:45 AM CST
Hello.

I am trying to propagate D. clandestinum as it is one of the few things that deer and woodchucks don't seem to like yet it provides cover for small animals and insects and seeds for the birds and a nice ground cover that will compete w/stiltgrass...what more could anyone want Smiling I have access to several mature clumps that I found growing here and I have tried to propagate the seed....seems there are spikes with seed (birds usually get there before me) and then there are additional seeds hidden in the "culms" (sorry if this is wrong word....they are hidden in sheath of leaf stem) and I usually collect a few of these. I haven't had much luck with the seeds....so I am considering taking a bit of rootstock but Dicanthelium is tricky when it doesn't have the basal rosette....it seems like a weedy species but I'm doing something wrong....any tips would be appreciated...thank-you!
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Oct 27, 2016 1:18 PM CST
It always helps to know the location, city/state/country to obtain accurate answers.

Have you properly identified the plant? There is a "look alike" D. scabriusculum.
http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/d...

Are the mature plants growing on your own property? If the plants are not on your property it may be illegal in your state to collect the seeds or to dig up the plants. Please check your local laws. Here is an example from the state of Maine; scroll down to find Sowing Native Seed.

https://extension.umaine.edu/g...

The seeds need to be stratified in order to germinate. See this link:
https://plants.usda.gov/factsh...

Good luck and happy growing. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

upat5
Nov 1, 2016 5:36 AM CST
Hello.

I am owned by a small piece of land in N. VA, Appalachian mtns...a couple of metres from the Appalachian Trail. I am trying to restore this patch to Appalachian woodland...no intention at all of moving rare plants unless I find them in the driveway or exposed to deer browsing....so, no worries there! I am 100% sure this is D. clandestinum. There are about 4-5 other Dichanthelium species on this patch and I have narrowed them down to a few species but I am no expert in this dept! I have collected a handful of seeds from the Deertongue but most I leave for the birds. There are quite a few mature clumps and I see the basal rosettes so I might try transplanting a single rosette this fall and see what happens. I am not creating a "garden", I am trying to speed up the spread of species that seem to be well established on this property and that don't seem to be interesting to deer.

I do stratify most of my seeds but maybe the deertongue seed that I tried to sow in the past was consumed before it germinated...I guess I was wondering if some other technique was required when trying to germinate this species. Thank-you for the links!
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
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Pistil
Nov 1, 2016 11:46 AM CST
Hi upat5-
I can't give you any advice that is "for sure" about this species. I do have a bit of more general advice of what I would try. Since this grass is native to your area, presumably it would sprout and grow there. I would try "WinterSowing" which is a technique to replicate the natural world, but a bit protected. Basically in late fall or early winter you sow the seed in a cut up one gallon milk jug then fasten the top back on, leaving the cap off. Then you leave it out in the weather, in the spring seeds sprout at the appropriate time!
Here is something else you might find helpful, it is a link to the USDA Plant Database, and amazing on-line document. At the bottom there are multiple links, one might have germination requirements for this species.

http://plants.usda.gov/core/pr...

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