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  • Author or Editor: Bruce A. Cunliffe x
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It is common practice to propagate grasses by division in the spring rather than the fall. This is particularly true of warm-season grasses. Production schedules for grasses do not often fit the general production pattern of other herbaceous perennial or woody crops. Five ornamental grass species were studied: Schizachyrium scoparium, Sporobolus heterolepsis, Calamagrostis × acutiflora `Karl Foerster', Miscanthus sinensis `Purpurascens', and Miscanthus sinensis `Variegatus'. Uniform divisions based on species were planted in 4-inch (480-ml) pots, #1 (2780-ml), and #2 (6240-ml) containers. Fall divisions were done between 28 Oct. and 10 Nov. 1997. Spring divisions occurred between 30 Apr. and 7 May 1998. The experiment is a randomized complete-block design blocking on pot size. All containers were over-wintered under the same cover of plastic, straw, and plastic. Plants were evaluated for post-winter survival and growth. Plants were given a visual rating (0-3) every 2 weeks to assess salability. Spring survival of fall divisions was 99% for S. scoparium, C. × acutiflora `Karl Foerster', and M. sinensis `Purpurascens'. M. sinensis `Variegatus', and S. heterolepsis each had ≈50% survival. Fall divisions reached a salable rating a minimum of 2 weeks ahead of spring divisions. These results indicate that some ornamental grass species may benefit from fall rather than spring handling.

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Five ornamental grasses {little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash], prairie dropseed [Sporobolus heterolepis (A. Gray) A. Gray], feather reedgrass [Calamagrostis ×acutiflora(Schrad.) DC. `Karl Foerster'], flamegrass (Miscanthus Anderss. `Purpurascens'), and variegated Japanese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensisAnderss. `Variegatus')} were propagated by transplanting plugs or field divisions into 480-mL (10-cm round), 2.7-L (no. 1), and 6.2-L (no. 2) nursery containers with media ratios (v/v) of 0:1, 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 1:0 rice hulls to sand, resulting in aeration porosities in 2.7-L containers of 5%, 12%, 22%, 28%, and 41%, respectively. Planting dates were between 28 Oct and 10 Nov. 1997; 30 Apr. and 7 May 1998; and 23-28 Oct. 1998 and 1-10 May 1999. Plants were covered with plastic and straw from the second week in November until the second week in April. Winter survival was evaluated 6 weeks after uncovering and for finished dates every 2 weeks thereafter. Species had a significant effect on overwintering survival, but container size and media did not. Sporobolus heterolepis and M. sinensis `Variegatus' had significantly lower overwintering survival than the other species. Container size significantly influenced growth; the 6.2-L containers had the highest values for all growth parameters. Growth response to media was a weak (nonsignificant) quadratic response, indicating for these species no clear trend for the best media aeration porosity.

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