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Protocol Information

Janet M Grabowski
Natural Resources Conservation Service - Coffeeville/Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center
2533 County Road 65
Coffeeville, Mississippi 38922-2652
(601) 675-2588
(601) 675-2369

Family Scientific Name: Cyperaceae
Family Common Name: Sedge Family
Scientific Name: Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (K.C. Gmel.) Palla
Common Synonym: Scirpus validus
Common Name: Softstem bulrush
Species Code: SCHTAB
Ecotype: Mississippi
General Distribution: Softstem bulrush is found in marshes and muddy shores at lower elevations and is tolerant of alkali. It is a widespread species throughout temperate North America south into tropical America.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 1+0 container
Time To Grow: 6 Months
Target Specifications: Height: n/a
Caliper: n/a
Root System: n/a
Propagule Collection: Ripening dates for softstem bulrush seeds vary from early August through mid October and I harvest them by pulling or cutting the fruit clusters from the stem.
Propagule Processing: Without further drying the plant material, I loosen seeds from fruit clusters using a brush machine (Westrup a/s Slagelse, Denmark) and sieve seeds through a 1/13 (1.953 mm) round hole screen to remove inert matter.
Pre-Planting Treatments: I have achieved germination rates around 30% after 4 wk using 2 storage methods: 1) storing seeds under moist, cold conditions for 5 to 7 mo; or 2) dry for 2 to 3 mo followed by 3 to 4 mo cold, moist stratification treatment.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

I use a 3:1 (v:v) sphagnum peat moss:sand growing medium amended with commercially recommended quantities of pelletized slow-release fertilizer (for example, 1.8 to 3.6 kg/m3 [3 to 6 lb/yd3] Osmocote 13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 mo release rate at 21 °C [70 °F] or 1.8 to 3.6 kg/m3 [3 to 6 lb/yd3] Sierra 17N:6P2O5:12K2O; 3 to 4 mo release rate at 21 °C [70 °F]; The Scotts Company, Marysville, Ohio), 4.7 to 5.9 kg/m3 (8 to 10 lb/yd3) dolomitic lime, 0.89 kg/m3 (1.5 lb/yd3) Micromax micronutrient fertilizer (The Scotts Company, Marysville, Ohio) and a wetting agent (I use 0.59 kg/m3 [1 lb/yd3] 2000 G AquaGro [Aquatrols, Cherry Hill, New Jersey], which is no longer marketed). I pasteurize the sand in an electric soil sterilizer for 30 min at 82 °C (180 °F) to reduce weed problems.
Establishment Phase: Seeds germinate best in a saturated growing medium, kept saturated on on a commercial ebb and flow greenhouse bench (Midwest Trading, Denmark) with water maintained 0.6 to 1.2 cm (0.25 to 0.5 in) deep. Greenhouse temperatures range from 13 to 38 °C (55 to 100 °F). and seedlings grow well under both moisture regimes.
Active Growth Phase: Subsequent seedling growth is best on medium kept moist by regularly watering containers situated on normal greenhouse benches.
References: The observations on seed propagation of 5 Mississippi wetland species, Grabowski, J., Native Plants Journal, Spring 2001.

USDA NRCS. 1999. PLANTS database, Version 3.0. URL: http://plants.usda.gov/plants (accessed 29 Sep 2000). Baton Rouge (LA): National Plant Data Center.

Grabowski, Janet M. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of container Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (K.C. Gmel.) Palla plants (1+0 container); Natural Resources Conservation Service - Coffeeville/Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center, Coffeeville, Mississippi. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 30 August 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.