Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Maximilian Sunflower

Image from HERE
The plant shown on the left is a native perennial called Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani).  It is a big, sprawling plant that blooms in September and October.  It spreads aggressively via rhizomes.  This is one of the species we are using to quickly create side cover across a CRP field with the intent of creating a wildlife travel corridor.

It is one of the species that Wes Jackson chose to investigate for "perennial grain".  His goal was to produce 300 pounds of sunflower seeds per acre.  This document suggests that 200 pounds per acre is already being achieved on a consistent basis.

The seeds are smaller than annual sunflower seeds but the birds seem to relish them.

I found a bag of seed I had stratifying in the refrigerator.  The directions from Prairie Moon Nursery suggested a thirty day cold/damp stratification period.  To be honest, I forgot about these seeds and they got away from me.

I scattered them atop damp potting soil and pressed them into contact.  Then I made a grocery bag burrito to keep the humidity high and temperatures reasonable.

It has been windy so I weighted down the burrito with sticks.  God willing I will get twenty-to-fifty seedlings to transplant.

Bird nests
The "teepee" in the center of the frame is some fencing that was dragged down by the weight of vines.  It holds a secret.
It has been a very wet spring.  So far this mom seems to be doing OK.  She did not go far when I took this snap.

1 comment:

  1. Spring is popping out all over! Birds are hatching down here too!


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