The herbaceous perennial plant (Helictotrichon) is a member of the Poaaceae or Cereals family. According to information taken from various sources, this genus includes 40-90 species. The scientific name of this plant was formed from a pair of Greek words meaning "twisted hair", this is because the awns of the floral scales in the lower part are twisted. Oatmeal can be found in the wild in Eurasia (just not in tropical regions) and also in Southern and Northern Africa. In Asian as well as African tropics this crop is found in the highlands.
All types of oat without exception are forage grazing plants, but since its foliage is very tough, it is rarely used as fodder for livestock. Evergreen oat or white oat or viviparous oat (lat. Helictotrichon sempervirens = Avena candida = Avena sempervirens) is very popular with gardeners and is grown as an ornamental cereal. Native to the Western Mediterranean and the Alps, this species is found at 2,400 meters above sea level.
Features of the oat
The evergreen oat is the tallest herbaceous perennial plant, which can vary in height from 30 to 100 centimeters.
The bush is capable of growing up to 100 centimeters in width. The root system of such an oat is taproot and it lies relatively deep. Narrow upright leaflets with a linear shape reach a length of 50 cm and form a lush bump. Their color varies from gray-blue to green-gray. The stem is about 1.
5 m tall and bears narrow, greenish-gray paniculate inflorescences, which vary in length from 40 to 100 mm. Flowering occurs from July to August. This species is very hardy and ornamental as it is very often used for landscaping and gardening.
Putting oat in the open ground
Gardeners prefer to propagate oat by splitting the plant which is a quick and easy way. If you do not yet have such a cereal in your garden, you can grow it from purchased seeds.
They are sown directly into the open soil in the springtime, and they should be buried in the ground only 20 mm. Seedlings of this plant are easy enough to care for. They need to be watered if necessary, and sometimes even slightly loosen the soil near the plants. Growing sprouts should be planted, so they were more spacious. When transplanting the plant, it should be taken with a big lump of soil.
The seeds are sown at the beginning of the spring period. Individual pots are used for this, because when transplanting or picking plants from a common box, you can easily damage their root system. When the seedlings will be stronger, they need to be transplanted into open soil, it is recommended to do this method of transplanting. To do this, first abundantly water the seedlings, then take a knife and its backside spend between the substrate and the walls of the container throughout the depth. As a result, soil is separated from the walls of the pot.
After that, the container is laid on its side and the bush is carefully extracted from it together with the soil mixture. Then it is placed in a hole, which should be prepared well in advance. The free space in the hole is filled with soil. Pulling or tugging the plants is prohibited during transplanting.
A well-lit open area is suitable for growing this crop.
It is very good if it is located in the southern part of the garden. It is recommended to plant no more than 4 bushes in 1 square meter of the plot. When creating a hedge of oatmeal, when planting between bushes, keep a distance of 0.4-0.5 m.
When planting this plant alone, the distance between the planted bushes should be a little more. Optimal for the cultivation of oat is moderately dry and loose soil, but it should be infertile. Such a culture will not grow normally on fertile and moist soil, and also shady areas are not suitable for it. If you plant oatmeal in the shade, its foliage will lose its decorativeness, as it will become just green.
Garden care for oatmeal
When growing in regions with a temperate climate, this plant does not need watering even in hot and dry summer days.
This species is adapted to a mountainous climate, so if there is high humidity on hot days, this will be extremely detrimental to flowering. Water the oat plant only when there is a prolonged drought, because the lack of water will stop the growth of new leaves and the old ones will start to dry up.
In order to maintain the ornamental value of this plant, it does not need to be fertilized often. Seven days after planting the bush in open soil, it should be fertilized with a small amount of fertilizer. Fertilization should then be done with a mineral compound fertilizer once a season.
When this plant is at the end of flowering, the inflorescences that have lost their effect should be removed. This cereal will not need to be covered for the winter. During the first winter period, the color of the bush does not change and remains greenish-blue. In the spring, you can find discolored leaf plates in the lush foliage, they look like gray strands. To make the plant attractive again, these leaves should be plucked and you should try to hold on to them as close to the base of the leaf blade as possible.
When the third winter is over, the plant should be rejuvenated.
This grass is propagated by splitting the bush and by seeds. You can read about the seed method of propagation above. When the third winter is over, the bush will lose its former beauty, so it will need to be taken out of the ground, divided into parts and replanted. This procedure is carried out in the spring.
If the bush is transplanted or split in autumn, it will be very weak and if there is a wet winter there is a good chance it will have rotting. Three-year-old shrubs tolerate division and transplanting well.
Pests and Diseases
Oatmeal is very resistant to all pests. If the summer period is hot and humid and the soil in the area where this plant grows is poorly drained, there is a high probability that the bush root system will be affected by fungal disease and in winter rot may appear on it.
If the weather is hot and the humidity is high, then oat flowering becomes very scarce because of this, and in the late summer period the bush may be affected by rust.
In order to prevent this disease, it is advisable to choose areas that are very well ventilated to grow the cereal. The rust-affected bushes should be sprayed with a fungicide, for example, Bordeaux liquid.
If the root system rots, the bush will need to be removed from the ground and then all affected areas should be carefully cut out. Make sure to cover the cuts with crushed charcoal. After that the plant is planted in another place, and it should be taken into consideration that it needs very good drainage.
Oat species and varieties with photos and names
The following species of oatmeal are the most popular among gardeners:
Oatmeal desert (Helictotrichon desertorum)
This steppe species is a European-Western Asian. In several regions of the Russian Federation this species is listed in the Red Book and is considered endangered. This oat is a densely herbaceous herbaceous perennial plant. The height of the bush may vary from 0.2 to 0.
5 m. The leaves of such a plant are folded lengthwise. Narrow paniculate inflorescences consist of 2 or 3 spikelets reaching about 1.4 centimeters in length. The fruit of the oat is the same as that of other members of the Grains family, namely, a grain.
This species is cultivated comparatively infrequently and as a rule is cultivated as an experimental plant.
Helictotrichon pubescens, or downy oat
In natural conditions this type of oat is found in the Caucasus, the European part of Russia, Europe, Central and Asia Minor and in the southern part of Siberia, it prefers to grow in glades, meadows and in steppes. The bush varies in height from 0.3 to 1.2 m.
The rhizome is short. As a rule, the leaf plates are pubescent with dense short hairs, the width of the leaves is 0.4-1 centimeters. The paniculate inflorescences are about 15 centimeters long and contain two to four-flowered greenish (sometimes with a violet streak) spikelets 1.2-1.
7 centimeters long. This fodder plant will yield a rich crop if grown in an irrigated or flooded meadow. If grown on dry soil, the foliage becomes very stiff and heavily scaled.
The description of this species can be found at the beginning of the article. Gradually, the popularity of this species among gardeners and breeders is steadily increasing.
Popular garden varieties:
- Pendula: flower spikes are drooping and heavy;
- Robust: very resistant to rust, even in humid summer;
- Sapphiresprudel: very resistant to rust, rich bluish-gray foliage, forming a cascade of silvery spikelets.