Miscanthus: Planting and Growing (PB5421)

Planting Materials

Two methods of propagation are currently used in the UK - rhizome division and micropropagation. Rhizome division is favoured because it is less expensive and generally produces more vigorous plants. To produce new planting material, two or three-year-old plants are split whilst dormant, using a rotary cultivator, and the rhizome pieces collected for re-planting. A 30-40 fold increase in plants can be achieved this way over a period of 2-3 years, depending on soil conditions.

Rhizome pieces must have at least 2-3 buds and must be kept moist before re-planting.  This is best achieved by keeping rhizomes under cold-storage conditions, (<4oC) (possibly for up to a year) but they will remain viable in the field for a short period of time, if stored in a heap and covered with moist soil. The optimal planting density for either propagation system is 20,000 plants/ha, but this may vary slightly from site to site.  Rhizomes need to be planted to allow for some expansion of the plant during the life of the crop and at a soil depth of 5-10 cm. The optimal planting date for rhizomes is March-April. Early planting takes advantage of spring-time soil moisture and allows an extended first season of growth. This is important because it enables larger rhizome systems to develop. These are more robust in future years, and allows the crop to tolerate drought and frost better.ng material

Note: the import of miscanthus rhizomes from third countries, other than European and Mediterranean countries is prohibited.The European Commission may consider derogations to the ban. For further advice contact DEFRAs Plant Health Division (see address on page 18).

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