Rough Spear grass (Austrostipa scabra) 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.
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 that 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, especially contamination of wool. Stock should be withdrawn while seeding occurs.
Austrostipa spp. can grow on a wide range of soil types. They will grow on poor soils as well as on 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.
- Heat tolerant
- High drought resistance
- Acid soil tolerant
- Frost tolerant
- Low fertility tolerant
Sow the seeds five to ten 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 six to eight weeks, but in the warmer months it may be from seven to ten 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. Some seed has been observed to have dormancy after harvest and germination of this seed may not occur until the following spring.
|3-5kg per acre
||9-12kg per ha
- For best results try to ensure that the seed bed is weed free. Native grasses are slow growers and effective weed control is highly desirable.
- It is also incredibly helpful to know the pH levels of your soil so take soil sample to test your soil pH level, following test kit instructions.
- While the soil is under preparation, it is a good idea to sow a few seeds into a sterile seed raising mix to be kept moist until germination. This will allow for easier identification of lawn seedlings once the lawn is sown.
- Before sowing, the soil surface should be loosened with either a rake or harrows to ensure adequate seed to soil contact.
- No fertiliser is necessary. in particular, avoid any phosphate-based fertilisers. the addition of organic matter however will add to a successful result.
- Spread the seed evenly over the prepared surface and rake it in, so it is lightly covered. Seed sown deeper than 15 mm may not germinate.
- Where possible, try rolling the area as it lightly presses soil particles together and ensures grass seeds are in contact with the soil. This will eliminate air pockets that could interfere with seed germination and growth and a rolled seedbed also holds moisture longer.
- If there is access to irrigation, for the first three weeks, water approximately 2-3 times a week, taking into account the weather. It is important after sowing grass seed to ensure seeds do not dry out.
- Use the sown seed sample to help identify grass seedlings from weeds.
Unfortunately due to Quarantine restrictions this product is not available to Western Australia