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1 April 2009 Seed Germination Characteristics of Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Chad A. Fedewa, J. Ryan Stewart
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Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis [A. Gray] A. Gray) is a warm-season grass that is an important component of remnant tallgrass prairies of North America, but is rarely found in restorations. We conducted three experiments to determine germination rates of prairie dropseed under different conditions in an attempt to potentially increase its successful establishment under field conditions. In the first experiment, we evaluated the duration of cold-moist stratification on the germination of prairie dropseed. Seeds were cold-moist stratified for 0, 30, or 60-d at 4 °C and then placed in a dark growth chamber at 26 °C. The other two experiments consisted of seeds planted in three different soil media: 1:1:1 soil:peat:perlite mixture, non-compacted field soil, and compacted field soil. They were then exposed to full irradiance or 50% shade. Germination was highest for seeds cold-moist stratified for 30 or 60 d. Seeds planted in either non-compacted or compacted field soil had higher germination rates than the 1:1:1 mixture in both full irradiance and 50% shade. We conclude that prairie dropseed has higher germination percentage after a period of cold-moist stratification. While our results indicate that seeds germinate better in field soil, germination rates were low compared to the amount of viable seed. It also appears that seed of prairie dropseed germinate at relatively higher levels under partial shade.

Chad A. Fedewa and J. Ryan Stewart "Seed Germination Characteristics of Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)," Natural Areas Journal 29(2), 188-192, (1 April 2009).
Published: 1 April 2009
prairie grass
tallgrass prairie
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