Sowing Grass Seed

I have been putting in seed this week. I’m only a few weeks behind! I like to have the seed in by the end of March, so I have lost some critical propagation time.

Anyway, where I have been working, I have a view of the yard and all the activities of the birds. We are very fortunate here in that we have a large population of resident species and we get to see many species which are seasonal visitors. The exception is the water birds as we are a bit far from the river.

I found a supply of native grass seed which I had missed earlier and now is a good time to put the seed in. I am still learning about the optimum time for various species. We have Austrostipa species which flower from late winter to summer. There are also the summer growing species, like Chloris truncata (Windmill grass) which gives nice patches of green in an otherwise brown landscape, apart from the trees and shrubs. I probably haven’t got the sowing times correct.

Anyway, for better or worse I planted

  1. Austrostipa nitida, (Spear Grass)
  2. Austrodanthonia setacea (Wallaby Grass)
  3. Cymbopogon ambiguus (Lemon Grass)(Not the one used in Asian cooking!)
  4. Chloris truncata (Windmill Grass)
  5. Enneapogon nigricans

All of these are local species.


2 Responses to “Sowing Grass Seed”

  1. Charmian Webster says:

    Hi there

    I’ve tried to coax a few native grass seed to grow, but am so far having no success. I’m sorry, I don’t know what it’s called, but it has tall, spear-like fuzzy “flowers” which I am assuming are the seeds. (Talk about being a beginner). I’ve put them onto a bed of potting mix with a thin layer of the mix poured over the top of them, which I have kept moist under a plastic container to try to intensify the heat and humidity.

    Am I even doing it right?

    Regards and thanks for your interest.


  2. Corinne says:

    Hi Charmian,
    Pull the ‘flower’ apart and you should get to the seed easily if the flower is old enough. The seed should come away in your hand. Be careful. Some of these flower heads can be very sharp.

    I read in the last newsletter from the Native Grasses resource group, that of the hundreds of seed one sows expect to get only 10% germination. I didn’t feel so bad about my failures then!

    Presuming that you have viable seed sown, I would remove the plastic container. You do not need humidity for germination, just moisture. Standing the seed container in a dish of water so that the surface remains moist is probably better. (Water about half way up the sides of the seed container). I also put a very light cover of small gravel over the top, as this acts as a mulch and seems to keep moisture at the surface, and keeps the temperature more even.

    Grass seeds have a small appendage to the seed which enables wind to disperse it. In some it is a fuzz of hairs, or a tail that acts like a cork screw in that when moisture contacts the seed it is turned into the soil by the ‘cork screw’, etc. If you look for these bits you should be on the track of what is the seed of the grass.

    Also, if seed is not sown within days of collection, some have an after ripening period of anything from weeks to a year. In which case no germination will occur until this time is up.

    Don’t be discouraged! Keep trying.

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