Distribution - Description - Uses - Habitat/Soil - Tolerances - Sowing Bookmark and Share

Spear grass

Austrostipa spp.

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Distribution

Spear grasses are found in all states of Australia, but predominantly in the southern half of the continent. There are many species, each of which has different characteristics, but all are well known as having a high tolerance to drought, poor soils and high temperature. The Spear grasses grow in association with dry eucalpyt forest, woodlands, shrublands, in low open forests, grasslands and along coastlines. These grasses often occur in shallow soils of low fertility in areas of high summer temperatures. They are able to survive and remain green even under dry, hot summer conditions.

Description

Spear grasses are cool season tufted perennial grasses. The foliage grows from 10 to 30 cm high with stems reaching from 0.5 to 1.5 metres depending on the species. Most species flower in spring, while some flower from late winter to early summer. Flowerheads vary between the species. Most have attractive feathery panicles which vary in length and breadth. The seeds are often sharp with long awns which are usually twisted. Many types of Spear grass seeds are known to cause problems to grazing animals.

Spear grass
Habitat/Soil

Spear grasses grow on a wide range of soil types. They will grow on poor soils as well as soils with high acidity. For example Rough Spear grass grows across many soil types while Foxtail Spear grass grows on all types as long as there is adequate drainage. Tall Spear grass prefers loam soils of moderate to low pH.

Tolerances

High drought resistance

Low fertility tolerant

Acid soil tolerant

Frost tolerant

Sowing

Sow the seeds 5-10 mm below the soil surface when moisture is available. Spear grass is best sown in autumn or winter. In the cooler months, germination can take from 6–8 weeks, but in the warmer months it may be 7–10 days. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged for three weeks after sowing. Seed can be sown with or without awns. Seed sown with awns is able to move when watered and to find a niche for its own burial. It is however, much more difficult to sow and usually requires hand sowing. Seed without awns is easier to sow, but requires sowing into a groove or shallow trench.

Uses

Spear grasses are very useful landscaping plants and Stipa scabra makes great horse pasture. They blend in well in bushland gardens or in rockeries. The plants are at their best in spring and summer when soft new growth and feathery panicles appear. The long panicles will usually remain upright and attractive for some months, even after the seeds have fallen. Spear grasses can also be used for revegetation as they are very hardy on poor sites and are able to survive harsh conditions.

Species

Native Seeds sometimes has a range of Spear grasses available:

Rough Spear grass Austrostipa scabra

Grows to 15 cm with stems reaching up to half a metre. It has an open panicle with many flowers and a purple colouration. It prefers well drained soils.

Rough Spear grass
Foxtail Spear grass Austrostipa densiflora

Grows to 20 cm high with stems up to 1 metre. It has an attractive dense compact panicle.

Foxtail Spear grass
Tall Spear grass or Plains Spear grass Austrostipa bigeniculata

Grows to 20 cm with stems from 30 cm to 1.2 metres tall. It has an open panicle up to 45 cm long. The awns on the seeds are distinctly bent in two places. This grass grows on heavy clay soils.

Sowing Native Grasses

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Sow with CONFIDENCE!

 

Dr. Ian Chivers is here to show you just how easy sowing native grasses can be! It's not that scary!

 

Download our free eBook showing you exactly what you need to do to successfully grow your native grass!

 

Why wait?                  

Enter your name and email and receive an instant copy

100% free!   


Sow with    

CONFIDENCE!

Dr. Ian Chivers

is here to show

you just how 

easy sowing 

native grasses

can be! It's not that scary!

Download our free eBook showing 

you exactly what you need to do to 

successfully grow your native grass!

 Why wait?                  

Enter your name and email and      

receive an instant copy         

100% free!   

- See more at: http://nativeseeds.com.au/Our-Story.php#sthash.unICyWzl.dpuf
 
 
 
 


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