Development of Field-grown Wildflower Sod

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC 29634-0375

In a study examining the potential for production of a field grown wildflower sod, 29 annual and perennial wildflower species were evaluated. Species selection for the study was based on lack of a large taproot, adaptability to the southeastern climate, flowering period, and potential for surviving root undercutting. Species were individually seeded in 1-m2 plots in Fall 1993 and Spring 1994 to determine an optimum planting time. In early Spring 1994, fall seeded plots were undercut at a 5 cm depth with a hand held sod cutter. Spring planted species were undercut in early summer. After undercutting, sod pieces were placed on clear plastic under overhead irrigation for 7 weeks then transplanted to prepared field sites. Ratings for flower appearance, root mat density, top growth vigor and fresh root weights were taken at the time of undercutting and after transplanting. Fall-planted species had a higher survival rate than spring-planted species. Species with the highest ratings and greatest increase in fresh root weights from the time of undercutting to transplanting were yarrow (Achillea millefolium), oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), lance-leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), lemon mint (Monarda citriodora), blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and moss verbena (Verbena tenuisecta).

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