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Protocol Information

Jan Schultz
Forest Plant Ecologist
USDA FS - Hiawatha National Forest
1030 Wright Street
Marquette, Michigan 49855

Family Scientific Name: Compositae
Family Common Name: Aster Family
Scientific Name: Liatris aspera Michaux
Common Name: Blazing Star
Species Code: LIAS
General Distribution: Found in dry, sandy sites in full sun. Jack pine savannah. Showy pinkish lavender floral spikes bloom for several weeks. Height up to 3 feet.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Propagule Collection: Seed is collected by hand from locally native plants within the eastern central Upper Peninsula. Flowers July to Sept. Seed is an achene with pappus. Pick seed from bottom up over time. It takes several years for the plant to go from seed to bloom. Seed is collected Sept.-October.
Propagule Processing: Dry seeds for 1-2 weeks in open paper bags or open Rubbermaid-style bins, shaking or turning seed heads. Seed is not cleaned. Once seeds have dried, store in sealed Ziploc-style bags until sowing time. Keep in a cool dry place (refrigerator or cold garage) until planted. Cold store until planted (up to 3 years).
Pre-Planting Treatments: None. If the seeds do not grow, they may need 1-3 months of moist cold stratification. To stratify: mix the seeds with an equal amount of either perlite or vermiculite. Seal mixture in a Ziploc-style bag or a Rubbermaid-style container, place in a cool dry place for 1-3 months.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Propagation Environment: Greenhouse film is made of Standard U.V. 3HL Clear 6 mil (J.R. Johnson's Greenhouse Supply Inc.) Fans run continously to circulate the air. Vents open during the summer months for cooling. Container Type: grows best in 24 cell (2"diameter) 14"x8.5"x4" deep flats. Does not do well in deep and narrow plug cells. Sowing Media: Scotts Redi-earth Plug and Seedling Mix. Contains vermiculite, and sphagnum peat moss. Soil is sterile.

Thoroughly moisten the soil with water, mixing in the water with a trowel. Cover holes in the bottom/sides of the plug tray cells with newspaper so that the soil does not fall out. Fill cells with damp soil press soil down with a spoon. Refill the cell plugs with soil to the top, this time not pressing it down. Water the soil in the plug cells again. Sow the seeds by hand at a rate of about 3 seeds in each cell. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or gently press seeds into the dirt. Sow in Jan. and continue growing new crops of seeds, as needed, until July. Germination takes about a month.

Establishment Phase: From Jan. until Aug, the greenhouse thermostat is set at 65 degrees F both day and night. Ambient greenhouse temperatures may reach 100 degrees F during the day in the summer. From Sept. thru Dec. the thermostat is set at 55 degrees F. During this season ambient greenhouse temperatures may reach 75 degrees F during the day. The greenhouse holds plants at all stages of growth so the temperature setting stays the same for all plants at all stages of growth. Soil is kept consistently damp during germination. Water using a fine mist or light hose setting only. Newly planted trays are placed on the south side of the greenhouse. No artificial light is used.
Active Growth Phase: The soil does not need to be kept consistently moist. Move trays to cooler north greenhouse tables. No fertilizers are used.
Hardening Phase: In early-late spring, mature plants can be moved into a cold frame with a cover of material that diffuses sunlight to prevent scorching of the plants. When there is no longer danger of frost at night, plants can be left directly outside. Plugs in this phase do not need to be watered as much as the plugs in other stages.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: In the Upper Peninsula, flats are planted from late May to early October. Flats that are not planted in the summer remain in the greenhouse for another season.
Other Comments: Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Tuber is very small for several years and roots fill plugs very slowly.

Schultz, Jan; Beyer, Patty.; Williams, Julie. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of container Liatris aspera Michaux plants; USDA FS - Hiawatha National Forest, Marquette, Michigan. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 1 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.