when to plant native grasses

Asked August 2, 2018, 11:53 AM EDT

When is the best time to plant native grasses, such as Little Bluestem?

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

If you are starting with transplants from a nursery, native grass such as little bluestem can be planted in the fall (September/October) or in the spring (April/May).

If you want to start the plants from purchased seed, it is important to ask the seed vendor if the seed has been stratified. Stratification involves treating seeds a certain way (often with cold temperature) so that they will break out of dormancy and germinate.

If starting from wild-collected seed, our native warm-season grasses require a cold-stratification period of about 90 days before they will germinate. If you sow seeds in the fall, typically the cold stratification is met naturally over the winter. The other option would be to keep seeds in a moist soilless medium in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a minimum of 90 days before sowing in the spring.