Awn removal of native scrub grasses

Carol Cloud Bailey, J. J. Muchovej


In the Florida Panhandle, the native scrub grasses that are the most important in autotrophic succession are: Wiregrass (Aristida stricta Michx), Little Bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx) Nash], and Lopsided Indian Grass [Sorghastrum secundum (Ell.) Nash]. These grasses produce significant awns and this study evaluated treatment with sulfuric acid, flash burning, and mechanical methods for removal of awns. Awn removal with subsequent seed survival was more difficult than envisioned. Sulfuric acid was not able to degrade awns to the point that they separated from the seed. Awns proved to be extremely flammable and this combined with the elongate nature of the seeds proved to be disastrous to seed health after burning. Mechanical removal showed promise as some awns were easily detached from seeds while with others the seeds protruded through the nylon mesh with the awns being retained on the inside.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283