Native Grass Propagation
It is very easy to overlook the many thousands of years involved in the domestication of our commonly grown cereals, the seed of which today is so readily harvested, cleaned and resown.
With any attempt to domesticate our “wild” native grasses it must first be appreciated that time is not on our side. We have to learn to accept them largely as they are rather than what we might like them to be.
Characteristics of a non-domesticated native grass may present one or more of the following problems;
Seed within the panicle (grass seed head) will shatter as soon as the first seeds ripen.
Harvesting difficulty, in obtaining seed in a pure caryopsis form to suit modern equipment, or the need to harvest it in a floret state to enhance germination.
The hairs, awns and bristles that are invariably part of floret seed inhibit the flow of the seed material in conventional seeding equipment.
Many variations of dormancy, found in different species, can inhibit the germination of otherwise viable seed.
The lack of required beneficial microflora within the soil, can also lead to poor germination.
Many native grass species seem to require a relationship with factors that were originally part of their natural environment. Successful propagation of native grasses requires knowledge and understanding of that environment. To deal with the above challenges, some creative thinking is probably also required.