Chasmanthium latifolium

Chasmanthium latifolium

During a brisk, wintry walk in a Michigan garden, one realizes that, of the few elements of winter interest in the garden, ornamental grasses stand tall. There has been much said and written about the extraordinary versatility of the landscape use of ornamental grasses. Grasses add stature, texture, movement and fall and winter interest to any garden. Chasmanthium latifolium, commonly known as northern sea oats, is no exception. With its bamboo-like foliage and delicate inflorescences, chasmanthium is certain to interest gardeners (Figure 1A and B).

 
Figure 1A and B. Chasmanthium latifolium plants provide movement
and texture to a summer garden, while inflorescences add
color and interest to a fall and winter garden.

Chasmanthium latifolium is native to the United States and is naturalized from New Jersey to Pennsylvania in the Northeast to Texas and northern Florida in the Southeast. Chasmanthium is hardy to USDA Zones 4 to 9 and is often found naturalized in shady areas in forests, near rivers and in flood plains. Although the common name, northern sea oats, suggests its proximity to water, the natural habitat of chasmanthium is inland. A close but distinct relative, southern sea oats (Uniola paniculata) is distributed throughout the sand dunes of the southern United States and is used in dune restoration and erosion control projects.

Great for use in native gardens and naturalized areas, chasmanthium has also been used successfully in urban landscapes and charming containers. Chasmanthium is of particular interest to many gardeners due to its moderate height (2 to 5 feet), deer resistance and its adaptability to shady locations. Many popular ornamental grasses are full sun plants and become floppy in shady areas, while chasmanthium thrives in part shade. As with many other ornamental grasses, chasmanthium is fairly easy to maintain and adds great value to gardens in return for the little time invested in plant care and maintenance. Its attractive inflorescences can be used in fresh or dried form in flower arrangements.

Seeds can readily germinate when dispersed on the ground, resulting in a small mass of seedlings around the planted chasmanthium each year. Often, home gardeners remove seedlings to prevent the proliferation of this grass; while in some landscapes, this spread of chasmanthium is preferred to promote its naturalization.

Container production of chasmanthium is as easy as growing and maintaining it in the garden. Consumers prefer buying plants in flower, and ornamental grasses follow suit. While some grasses may be difficult to produce and market in flower, chasmanthium can be easily forced. At Michigan State University, we conducted container production trials on chasmanthium, and our research-based results and production notes are narrated below. 

Figure 2. Chasmanthium latifolium is an obligate long-day plant
and flowered completely when non-cooled plants were forced at
68ËšF under photoperiods of 14 hours or longer. 16-INC and
16-HPS refer to a 16-hour photoperiod provided by incandescent
and high-pressure sodiumlamps,respectively. Four-hour night
interruption in the middle of night is denoted by 4 NI.

Critical Photoperiod

Forcing under long-day (LD) and short-day (SD) photoperiods promotes flowering of LD and SD photoperiodic plants, respectively. Flowering of LD plants is hastened when the forcing photoperiod exceeds a critical value, known as the critical photoperiod. An experiment was performed to determine the critical photoperiod for flowering of Chasmanthium latifolium. The plugs were planted and grown at 68˚F under a 10-, 12-, 13-, 14-, 16- or 24-hour photoperiod. All photoperiods were provided by extending the nine-hour day using incandescent lamps. Another treatment consisted of natural days extended with light from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps to create a 16-hour high-light photoperiod. Plants under this treatment received ≈30 percent more total light compared with the other treatments. Additionally, a separate group of plants was forced under a four-hour night interruption provided by incandescent lamps.

No plants flowered when forced under a 10- or 12-hour photoperiod, 90 percent of plants flowered under the 13-hour photoperiod but their flowering was delayed, and all plants flowered rapidly when grown under photoperiods of 14 hours or longer or the night interruption treatment (Figure 2). Hence, chasmanthium is an obligate LD plant with a critical photoperiod of 14 hours. Plants forced under a 24-hour photoperiod flowered quickest (in five weeks), while seven to eight weeks were required for flowering when forced under photoperiods of 14 hours or longer. 

Production Notes:
Starting Material and Bulking

Chasmanthium latifolium seeds are viable and germinate easily. Hence, this grass is easy to produce commercially by seed by either germinating seeds in a propagation facility or purchasing seedling plugs. Cooling chasmanthium seedlings in plug trays at 41ËšF for 15 weeks did not influence flowering and therefore, chasmanthium does not require vernalization for flowering. Although bulking is not necessary for flowering, growing plants to their desired final size prior to forcing is beneficial. Plants should be bulked under photoperiods less than 14 hours to maintain vegetative growth and promote tiller production to obtain robust plants. 

Forcing

As previously described, LD photoperiods of 14 hours or longer promote flowering of chasmanthium. Long-day photoperiods can be provided as a day extension or a four-hour night interruption treatment. When forced under 14- or 16-hour photoperiods or night interruption, plants flowered in seven to eight weeks in a greenhouse with an average daily temperature of 68ËšF. Forcing can be accelerated by providing continuous light (24-hour photoperiod), with complete flowering in ≈5 weeks. When provided with supplemental lighting, plants produced twice as many tillers as plants forced under natural daylight. Therefore, a high-light environment will produce higher quality crops. 

 

 Figure 3. Leaf chlorosis observed in Chasmanthium latifolium was corrected by
application of iron chelate at the manufacturer’s 
recommended rate.
Non-treated control plants (left) and plants that received a media drench of iron chelate
(right) were photographed four weeks after the chelate application was made.

Nutrition

We have successfully used a peat-based medium to grow hundreds of herbaceous perennials. However, when some ornamental grasses, including chasmanthium, are grown in this peat-based medium, leaf chlorosis is observed. When left unattended, foliar chlorosis can progress to leaf necrosis and diminish the plant quality. Foliar tissue analysis indicated that this foliar chlorosis is due to iron deficiency. Application of chelated iron such as a foliar spray of diamine triamine penta acetate (DTPA) or a media drench of ethylene diamine dihydroxy methylphenyl acetate (EDDHA) can correct these deficiency symptoms when applied at the manufacturer’s recommended rates (Figure 3). EDDHA is a red-colored compound and if splashed on the foliage, an unsightly red residue is left behind. Hence, the foliage should be rinsed off soon after media drenching.

Leave a Reply

More From Plant Culture...

September 3, 2015

Legalization Of Marijuana In California A Strong Possibility

The push for the legalization of recreational marijuana intensifies in California as proponents promote the crop’s agricultural and economical benefits.

Read More
More and more people are employing a landscape service, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still garden

September 2, 2015

Under Siege? Not Really, Just Go For A Walk

I have no trouble with people buying chocolates or wine instead of flowers to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or peoples’ lives. We should all have choices. However, the other night I felt like I was entering the Republican caucus. I was minding my own business by the television set and became more than a little upset. A website called insteadofflowers.com came on the screen. It provided serene music and wholesome images of busy women doing busy things. It turns out that such busy women enjoy a small token of appreciation, but apparently their enjoyment, according to the voice-over, does not include flowers. This website delivers meals to the house, anything from beef brisket to beef bourguignon. It is a fine website with a good idea. But why pick on us? Why not use “insteadofbaloneysandwiches.com” or “insteadofgrilledcheeseandsoup.com,” “insteadofburgerdoodle.com,” or a dozen other things. When did flowers get to be the whipping boy? […]

Read More
Triathlon BA container shot

September 2, 2015

OHP Launches Triathlon BA, Offers Marengo SC In Smaller Size

Triathlon BA biofungicide/bactericide is now available to authorized OHP distributors for shipment to states where product registration has been approved. State registration information is available here. A next generation preventive biological fungicide, bactercide Triathlon BA is labeled for use in both organic and conventional production on a wide variety of fungal and bacterial diseases on ornamentals, fruits, vegetables and herbs and spices. With the active ingredient Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Triathlon BA provides preventive control of many foliar and soil-borne diseases such as botrytis, powdery mildew, downy mildew, rusts, leaf spots, alternaria, pythium, phytophthora, rhizoctonia, fusarium and bacterial spot. Triathlon BA, an aqueous suspension formulation, prevents establishment of disease-causing fungi and bacteria on the plant tissues. Depending on the target disease, users can foliar-apply or soil drench Triathlon BA. Repeat applications may be made at three- to 28-day intervals. Under environmental conditions that are conducive to disease development, users may apply at three- to […]

Read More
Latest Stories

August 19, 2015

Greenhouse Growing Recommendations For Lobularia

Modern-day Lobularias are garden classics with good vigor and long bloom times. These growing recommendations will help keep your crop in prime condition.

Read More
Mike McGroarty, owner of Mike’s Backyard Nursery

July 29, 2015

Backyard Success: Mike McGroarty Educates Aspiring Grow…

Mike’s Backyard Nursery sits on a long, narrow, 5-acre property located in Perry, Ohio. There, customers can find a variety of flowering shrubs available, all in 2-quart pots, and all for sale for $5.97 each. Owner Mike McGroarty, a lifelong resident of Perry, says the town has a lot of plant nurseries, including 100 wholesale growers within a 10-mile radius of his house. That doesn’t discourage McGroarty, because he knows that while there are a lot of nurseries in his area, no one else is doing what he is doing. McGroarty has learned about plants — and marketing them to his audience — through decades of experience. He has never hesitated to pass along his knowledge to other growers looking to start their own backyard operations, and has created an entire program to educate aspiring growers. McGroarty Likes To Practice What He Preaches McGroarty’s operation serves as the laboratory for […]

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

June 27, 2015

Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabi…

As most growers know well, the federal government regulates all insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other commercial chemicals used on agricultural crops. Therein lies the problem with use of chemicals on cannabis crops – so far, the feds want nothing to do with legalized marijuana. According to “Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabis,” a June 17 article on the National Public Radio (NPR) network by Agribusiness Reporter Luke Runyon, the lack of regulated chemicals for cannabis has left growers to experiment on their own. “In the absence of any direction the subject of pesticide use on the crop has just devolved to whatever people think is working or they think is appropriate,” said Colorado State University Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw in the NPR report. “Sometimes they’ve used some things that are appropriate, sometimes unsafe.” Denver officials held tens of thousands of marijuana plants earlier this year due to safety concerns, but […]

Read More
Great-spangledFritillary

June 16, 2015

The Butterfly Effect: Insect’s Wings Key To Azalea Poll…

A researcher from North Carolina State University (NC State) has found that in the case of the flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), all pollinators are not created equal. In fact, due to the flower’s unique reproductive structure, butterflies — and specifically, their wings — are the key to pollination. The flame azalea is commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains, ranging from as far north as New York to Georgia in the south. Like most azaleas, the flowers are large, and have an unusual structure: both the anther (male) and stigma (female) parts are very elongated and separated from one another. NC State biologist Mary Jane Epps was interested in how the azalea’s flower structure affected its pollination. “In order for a plant to reproduce, a pollinator — usually an insect — has to spread the pollen from the anther to the stigma,” Epps says. “In the case of the flame azalea, […]

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More

March 11, 2015

Pollinator Initiative Promotes Bee-Friendly Talking Poi…

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are working tirelessly with the ornamental industry's Pollinator Stewardship Initiative on a number of new projects.

Read More

February 11, 2015

Infusion Technology Boosts Seed Performance, Study Sugg…

Seven-year-old wheat seed germination can increase by as much as 83 percent, according to a Vital Force Technology Study that looks at the effects of energy infusion technology on plant vitality.

Read More

February 3, 2015

American Floral Endowment Accepting Research Pre-Propos…

If you are pursuing a floriculture research project, now is the time to apply for funding through the American Floral Endowment. Research pre-proposal applications for 2015-2016 funding are due to AFE by June 1, 2015.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Marijuana’s Trajectory And Ascent To Horticultural Cr…

Marijuana growing is poised for change as growers and researchers focus on improving production practices.

Read More

December 9, 2014

Greenhouse Production: Two Years Of Basics & Beyond…

Greenhouse Grower's Basics & Beyond articles cover some of the latest news and research going on in greenhouse production. Here are article links for the last two years.

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

November 24, 2014

GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile &…

The social garden app GrowIt! takes the Gold Winner award at the design100 2014 Mobile & App Design Awards.

Read More

November 10, 2014

The Perennial Farm Joins HGTV HOME Plant Collection

The Perennial Farm joins the HGTV HOME Plant Collection growers' network for 2015.

Read More
AmericanHort

November 4, 2014

AmericanHort Publishes Revised American Standard For Nu…

AmericanHort announces the revised American Standard for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60.1) is now available for industry use. The Standard reflects the consensus of the industry regarding how nursery stock — living plants other than annuals — should be specified and sold within the trade.

Read More

September 26, 2014

Master The Art Of Watering

Watering is elemental to healthy plants, but one of the hardest concepts for new employees to master in the greenhouse. Recommend these tips to start them off right.

Read More

September 16, 2014

Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas Facility Provides Gro…

Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas farm in Esteli, Nicaragua, is one year away from full production, but sales and quality from the two-year-old facility are right on track.

Read More
Erysimum 'Cheers' from Darwin Perennials

September 15, 2014

Darwin Perennials Takes Production Offshore In Bogota, …

With its recent purchase of a farm in Colombia, Darwin Perennials is ready to amp up supply of its perennial genetics, to provide growers with tried-and-true varieties and comprehensive production specifications.

Read More

July 23, 2014

Plan Now To Prevent Bract Edge Burn On Poinsettias

Reduce fertilizer and water, and allow your poinsettias to develop slowly during the final four weeks of production to avoid bract edge burn.

Read More

July 11, 2014

Growing Your Crops Above Their Base Temperature

Lowering temperature set points in the greenhouse may help you combat rising heating costs.

Read More