Shortening the Chill Requirement

larry7b(zone 7 N. GA)December 28, 2010

I want to try American Beakgrain or beak grass, Diarrhena americana, from seeds but have read the seeds have a 30 to 60 day chill requirement. Any suggestions on shortening this chill requirement so that I can sow indoors and have seedlings ready by April 2011? This is a shade tolerant native grass that makes a good groundcover in zones 4 to 8.

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Sow the seeds into a flat, water, and place in the fridge for two months. Take out and place in a sunny window for germination. However, I don't know how long (days or weeks) after thawing they will sprout.

That's not how we winter sow. We sow the seeds into covered and vented flats, then place them outside to sleep through winter, then they wake up and sprout in their own right time--creating climate-tolerant and very hardy seedlings.

You can check out our FAQ and learn more, the posts in the forum are loaded with experience and advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: WS FAQs

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 9:06AM
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You might try asking your question in the Woodlands forum. I ran across an old comment from 2005 of someone who wrote how easy it was to grow this beautiful grass from seed and how it was surprising it wasn't mentioned more often. Maybe you'll get lucky and find her to can ask how she sowed her seed.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 11:41PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Being a native plant enthusiast, and never having heard of 'Beak Grass', I had to go look it up! There is not a lot of info out there and apparently it is fairly rare. The references I looked at don't even mention whether it's a cool or warm season grass (flowering time in late summer so maybe warm season??). It has interesting seedheads and turkeys eat the seeds. Neat.

You could try soaking or scarifying the seed first, and this might reduce the length of cold stratification required. Then in your climate, I would think you could stratify outside with WSing. After that, bring them in and try to germinate under lights for April.

Since there isn't much propagation info out there, you could also experiment and try a germination test right now, and see if you would get any sprouting without cold stratification. The warm season native grasses that I've grown from seed haven't required a cold period.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 9:53AM
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