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Old 03-10-2013, 04:42 PM   #11
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Oops! I haven't had much luck growing little bluestem, since my property is pretty shady and it tends to die every year, so I made an assumption about it being an annual without checking. Sorry!

I would split the clumps, and transplant them to the same area where you are planting your seeds. That way the parent can cross with the children, which will tend to concentrate the desired trait (incest tends to concentrate traits, whether they are bad, such as hemophilia in the crowned heads of Europe in the 19th century, or your blue color which is desired). Eventually you will probably want to remove the original parents if the offspring are breeding true. You may get some interesting variants in the ongoing generations.

Genetics is always interesting. It turns out Mendel cheated on his data with the pea plants he bred in figure out dominants and recessives - he had anomalies he couldn't explain, so he simply eliminated them from his report. Nature likes to mix things up in unexpected ways.

I would love to have a shade loving little bluestem if anyone comes up with one. I have some pretty dicantheliums, but they are small.

Mowing a field of little bluestem would disrupt the life cycle of many skippers and other insects. I would leave them alone and enjoy the view!
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turttle View Post
Oops! I haven't had much luck growing little bluestem, since my property is pretty shady and it tends to die every year, so I made an assumption about it being an annual without checking. Sorry!
No problem...I see why you could think that after your experience.
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Originally Posted by turttle View Post

Genetics is always interesting. It turns out Mendel cheated on his data with the pea plants he bred in figure out dominants and recessives - he had anomalies he couldn't explain, so he simply eliminated them from his report. Nature likes to mix things up in unexpected ways.
I had never heard that before. Hmmm.


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Originally Posted by turttle View Post
Mowing a field of little bluestem would disrupt the life cycle of many skippers and other insects. I would leave them alone and enjoy the view!
That idea has already been nixed...but thanks for helping me realize it would affect the life cycle of the skippers.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:22 AM   #13
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bluestem> "They are very blue in color and stand erect. I want to expand the population of those particular plants...

I'm thinking they would have to be moved some distance and isolated from their less desireable brethren to produce seed that will carry the desirable traits.

Am I on the right track?" I’m not so sure you are but… I’m not so sure you aren’t.
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"I think I'll move those few plants to another property 8 miles away. I surmise, that if I plant them a few feet apart in an area devoid of other LB, they will then pollinate each other and the desirable traits will become more likely in the seed?" Hold that thought for a second.... or 2 because I’m gonna be coming in from what might sound like left field compared to everyone else whose posted before me. 1st off.... I question whether you’re on the right track moving them in part because none of us have any clue where your plants are growing so what you’re seeing could be some sort of a chemical clinal variation due to geographical transition but who knows…. Little Bluestem could be a polyploid like Big Bluestem is. Polyploids can triple their number of chromosomes before passing em on. If a plant generally reads a pair of genes that determines leaf pigmentation as being blue….. a triploid plant reads the genes 3x hence the leaves would be 3x bluer or 3x harrier or 3x rounder leaved or or or. Moving those plants to a different geographic location could spell the end of your splash of blue…. nobody here knows enough to say though. Next….. you’re right…. they are perennials but I don’t think they’re primarily pollinated by wind like corn is as previously suggested. I thought pollination was primarily by insects and the NRCS does list them as a pollinator friendly grass, Pollinator-Friendly Plant Species and Bloom Periods | Montana NRCS. Factor in that mosquito spraying is suspected of killing off unknown pollinators although they haven't been studied enough to know for sure. Special pollinators are not believed to be required but…. again…. I don’t think Little Bluestem has been studied enough to rule out special pollinators. All this leads me to believe these plants may primarily be pollinated by insects. Seed dispersal IS primarily by wind.....secondarily by animals.... that’s been studied and that might be causing some of the confusion. Anywhoooo… if they are primarily pollinated by insects….. and I think they just might be….. transplanting such a small number of them to another site could spell disaster if potential pollinators missed or passed over them in search of a larger population. If it were me and you’re not, I’d seriously consider taking turttle’s advice and leave them be at their current location. You’d be able to enjoy the contrast of bluer more erect plants against their drab brethren in situ being as how it seems they’re liking their existing “digs” and there’d be the added benefit of not compromising the integrity of the local genotype if you left them where they are, Conservation genetics of two co-dominant grass species in an endangered grassland ecosystem - Gustafson - 2004 - Journal of Applied Ecology - Wiley Online Library.
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And, I've heard claims the clumps can be split.” For sure they can. You take your spade and basically stick it in the middle of the clump. If you don’t weigh enough…. just jump on the spade and work your way around the portion of a clump you want to move. I’ve transplanted in fall after plants have gone dormant but…. that doesn’t mean spring couldn’t work as well or better.
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Here’s something on their faunal associations that might tickle you pink, Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and here’s more than you ever wanted or needed to know about Little Bluestem, Species: Schizachyrium scoparium.
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turttle> “Bluer” Little Bluestem cultivars are pretty common…. sports of this species occur in nature regularly. Here’s where you could buy a bluer cultivar of Schizachyrium scoparium, Schizachyrium scoparium Prairie Blues | Gateway Garden Center. There’s a ‘Blues’ and a ‘Savanna Blue’ cultivar floating around out there too. I don’t know if any would do all that well by you though. There are a few variations out there and who knows which 1s were used in the breeding programs…. a short prairie ecotype could have been used which would fizzle out by you and you’d be none the wiser.
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It turns out Mendel cheated on his data with the pea plants he bred….he had anomalies he couldn't explain, so he simply eliminated them from his report.” I knew that!!! There were many cheats before him and there’s definitely been cheats after him!!!
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:57 PM   #14
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Now I know a little more about how much I don't know. Uf-da...who's on third?!
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