Native Grass Propagation

Grass icon Strategies for the Propagation of Native Grasses.


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.


2 responses to “Native Grass Propagation

  1. Jude Friesen

    January 28, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Dear folks
    I’m looking for info on propagating certain species of native grasses and sedges in the Cairns area with the purpose of proving habitat for grass birds like crimson finches.
    Once I know the species I need Eg.Imperata cylindrica, would you be able to give advise on seed collection and propagation?
    Regards Jude

    • ngrg2013

      January 30, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Hi Jude, thanks for dropping by with your query.

      With our respective locations being Cairns in the tropics and the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia, we could almost be living on two different planets. For this reason my ability to provide you with sound detailed advice on native grass propagation in the tropics is very limited.

      However, when you do decide on the species you wish to propagate, there are some basic principles you can follow with regard to harvesting and sowing your seed.

      I look forward to your return visit.



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