Hierochloe odorata (Sweetgrass)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Henry Sauphar
Posted on: May 31, 2002

I am really interested in your Hierochloe odorata seeds. What weight should I order for 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of culture?

First, I should say that we do not recommend sowing seeds directly over a large area like this. Sweetgrass seeds have a very low germination rate, usually about 5%. This low rate is not because of poor seed quality, but because of natural limitations to the fertilization process during pollination and seed formation. Typically 95% of the seeds that form are infertile because of this fertilization problem.

Fortunately because sweetgrass spreads vegetatively a few plants can develop into a thick stand within a few years. Because of the low germination rate we strongly recommend that seeds be sown in seed flats, plug trays or prepared seed beds where the weeds can be easily controlled. The few seeds that germinate and become plants can then be transplanted to the field, planted in an even distribution over the area.

If you were to attempt to sow the seeds directly, you will find that the establishment of sweetgrass will be uneven, with large gaps and weeds will be hard to control.

There are approximately 1200 seeds per gram. At about 3-5% germination, you can expect about 35-60 plants per gram – provided germination conditions are ideal; the numbers will be less if are not ideal.

I recommend a plant spacing of 4 per square metre or 4,000 plants. You will need about 100 grams to plant one hectare (or 40 grams per acre).

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