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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - September 06, 2006

From: Aguanga, CA
Region: California
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Determining best time to harvest deer grass seeds in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

When is the best time to harvest deer grass seeds at about 4,000 feet in southern Riverside County California??

ANSWER:

To ensure that the greatest percentage of seeds you collect are viable, you need to harvest them when they are fully mature—ideally, just before they would naturally drop from the plant. Exactly when the plants bloom and the seeds mature depends on the local environmental conditions where the plants are growing. According to the Jepson Flora Project at the University of California Berkeley, the bloom period is June-September. With no firsthand knowledge of the climatic conditions of the area where you want to collect, I can't make any definitive predictions about when the seeds will be ready to collect. However, assuming that they are blooming or have already bloomed by the first part of September, you should be monitoring your plants by now to determine when the seeds are beginning to turn brown and harden.

One method that can be used for collecting the seeds is to cut the seed stalk and turn the stalk head into a container, such as a bucket, and then shake the ripe seeds into the container.

 

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