OK Select Germplasm little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). A multi-population, selected native germplasm (non-cultivar) release from Knox City Plant Materials Center (Knox City, TX). This germplasm is appropriate for use in rangeland re-seeding, prairie restoration, backyard “pocket prairies”, and roadside re-vegetation work.
The original seed collection was made from native populations in Caddo, Grady, Stephens, and Washita Counties in southwestern Oklahoma, giving the release a broad genetic base. One visible expression in commercial germplasms that are comprised of broad genetic bases is the variation in height between plants, as can be seen in the photo below of OK Select. Multi-population germplasms generally outperform germplasms with origins from a single population or even a single plant. During the evaluation period of the populations that now comprise OK Select, no breeding or rigorous selections were made, other than selections (choosing of populations) for plant performance values. More information can be read in the release document, available here: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/…/FS…/publications/txpmcrb11370.pdf
This germplasm is currently on TxDOT’s seeding specifications list for about 30% of its work areas, as it is currently the only commercial germplasm available on the market that is suitably adapted to the aforementioned region, and has shown far better planting performance and persistence than other little bluestem germplasms used in the past; especially those listed as “VNS” and “wild harvest”, or with genetic origins too far from planting sites (i.e. “Aldous”). “VNS” and “wild harvest” germplasms have shown little promise for large-scale restoration plantings or roadside re-seeding work in Texas. Such seed types generally accelerate planting failure within 2 years by creating weak population gaps in which exotics are able to infiltrate and gain footholds.
This release performs well in the North Central Texas area, broadly delineated as along and west of US Hwy. 81, along and north of US Hwy. 180, along and east of TX State Hwy. 70, and along and south of I-40, as well as the Southwestern Oklahoma counties previously listed (see map below).
Other little bluestem germplasms are currently being evaluated against OK Select for use in North Central and Central (Hill Country) Texas by the Texas Native Seeds project of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. A future little bluestem release with genetics from within the state of Texas is forthcoming, pending final evaluations.
Per the Native Seed Network (nativeseednetwork.org), OK Select is currently being grown by Bamert Seed Company.
Help create increased demand for ‘OK Select’ by requesting this germplasm at the above-mentioned seed dealer or your favorite seed dealer!