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Protocol Information

Mark E. Majerus
Natural Resources Conservation Service - Bridger Plant Materials Center
99 South River Road, Rte. 2, Box 1189
Bridger, Montana 59014-9718
(406) 662-3579
(406) 662-3428

Family Scientific Name: Poaceae
Family Common Name: Grass
Scientific Name: Deschampsia caespitosa
Common Name: Tufted hairgrass
Species Code: DECE18
Ecotype: See
General Distribution: Coastal marshes and prairies to alpine ridges and talus slopes; Alaska to Greenland, south to most of United States and northern Mexico.
Propagation Goal: Seeds
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Propagules (seeds, cuttings, poles, etc.)
Target Specifications: Harvest yields vary due to weather and age of stand. Average annual production is 48 kg/ha (43 lbs/ac).
Propagule Collection: Wildland collection occurs early to mid August when caryopsis are golden tan, at the hard dough stage, and not yet shattering (natural dispersal) from the open, salt and pepper-colored panicle; easily hand-harvested.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Seed is spread out on a tarp in a dry, sheltered environment and turned daily for approximately 3-5 days, until no moisture or warmth is detected. After drying, material is processed with a Wintersteiger plot combine at concave closed, speed 700 rpm, and no wind. Seed is threshed with a hammermill through a 4/64" round hole screen, and air-screen processed on a Clipper M2B or Eclipse cleaner over a 6/64" round hole screen. Due to tiny seed, presence of persistent palea and lemma, and poor seed flow, this species is moderately difficult to clean. Larger seed lots are processed most efficiently with mechanized cleaning equipment and smaller seed lots usually require more hand labor.
Seeds/Kg: 4,300,000.
Germination: 97%.
Purity: 100%.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed treatment: Seeds placed in 0-1ºC (32-34ºF) for a 10-day cold stratification treatment and then exposed to 22-25ºC (72-77ºF).
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Propagation Environment: Seedbed is firm and free of weeds with good field moisture to 4" depth.
Seed Propagation Method: Direct seeding.
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: Spring or dormant fall.
Sowing/Planting Technique: 25-30 pure live seed/ft (0.3 m) row, irrigated 91-cm (36-in) row spacing, seeded with two-row double-disk planter with depth bands, optimum seeding depth 0.6 cm (0.25 in).
Establishment Phase: Soil surface is kept moist throughout the 14 day germination and emergence period (also helps prevent soil crusting); lower rates of Buctril® or bromoxynil are applied at 3-5 leaf stage to control broadleaf weeds.

Fertilizer application is not recommended the first year, as it generally stimulates weed growth and competition.

Length of Establishment Phase: 2 growing seasons.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Spring to fall; broadleaf weed control with herbicides must occur prior to boot stage; soil moisture is critical during boot stage, milk stage of seed development, and post harvest to pre-freezeup- -no irrigation is applied during flowering (pollination); fertilizer is broadcast at 100 lbs actual N/40 lbs actual P/acre in mid-September.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 2 to 3 seasons.
Hardening Phase: N/A.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: . Cultivated harvest occurs early to mid July, with a mean harvest date of July 10 at the Bridger Plant Materials Center.

A John Deer swather is used to cut stems into windrows for direct combining, or, to minimize seed loss, a temporary "diaper" - a heavy piece of plastic or canvas clipped under belt draper - is attached for direct catchment.

Seed Storage: Seed is placed in plastic seed bags and stored in a cool, dry environment.
Seed Dormancy: Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.

Length of Storage: Storage Duration: 5 to 7 years.
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Outplanting Site: Christensen Meadow.
Other Comments: Ecotype: 1 Glacier National Park accession periodically collected and produced from 1987 to 1991, and 1996 to 1999. Elevation is 1,149 m (3,770 ft).
References: Manual of the Grasses of the United States, A. S. Hitchcock, Second Edition, Two Volumes, Dover Publications, Inc., 1970.

Flora of the Pacific Northwest, C. L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 1973.

Montana Interagency Plant Materials Handbook, Montana State University, Extension Service Bulletin EB 69, June 1990.

Yellowstone Vegetation - Consequences of Environment and History in a Natural Setting, Don G. Despain, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1990.

Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, C. C. Baskin and J. M. Baskin, Academic Press, 2001.

Winslow, Susan R. 2002. Propagation protocol for production of Deschampsia caespitosa seeds; Natural Resources Conservation Service - Bridger Plant Materials Center, Bridger, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 5 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.