Description of a hedgehog plant, recommendations for caring for a summer cottage, how to reproduce, tips for combating pests and diseases, interesting data, species.
Hedgehog (Dactylis), the name of the plant has an accent on the last letter. Scientists classify this representative of the flora as belonging to the Cereals family or, as it is also called, Poaceae. Basically, all varieties are perennials with a herbaceous form of growth. The native area of natural distribution falls on the territory of Eurasia and North American lands. The hedgehog prefers to choose coastal areas with loose and fertile soil for growth, it can also be found in meadows, roadside, in shady forests. In this case, the soil should not be too waterlogged. The family includes up to 26 varieties, some species began to be domesticated from the end of the 19th century.
|Family name||Bluegrass or Cereals|
|Reproduction||Seed (most often) or division of an overgrown bush|
|Landing period in open ground||Seeds - spring or late summer, bush cut - spring or autumn|
|Disembarkation scheme||When planting, a minimum distance of 20-30 cm is maintained between seedlings|
|Substrate||Clay or loamy, nutritious, loose|
|Soil acidity, pH||Neutral - 6, 5-7 or slightly acidic 4, 5-5, 5|
|Illumination||Sunny location or partial shade|
|Moisture indicators||Drought tolerant, but watering should be regular|
|Special Requirements||Easy to grow, but requires regular mowing|
|Plant height||0.3cm to 1.5m|
|Color of flowers||Grayish green, occasionally purple|
|Type of flowers, inflorescences||Panicle or spike|
|Flowering time||All summer months|
|Place of application||Mixborders, curbs, ridges, anchoring slopes and slope walls|
The hedgehog has its scientific name thanks to the word in Greek "Dactylis", which has a translation - finger. This is due to the fact that the most common type of hedgehog (Dactylis glomerata) has common inflorescences in shape that resemble human fingers. And the name in Russian comes from the fact that during flowering spike-shaped inflorescences appear, decorated with needles and similar to the back of an ordinary hedgehog.
As mentioned above, all hedgehogs are perennial herbaceous plants with a shortened creeping rhizome that can grow into the soil to a depth of one meter. Such a rhizome develops quite quickly, and the root system itself is distinguished by its power and fibrous shape. It is this feature that makes it possible for a large number of stems to appear, which can reach 1.5 m in height, while their width is 1.5 mm. The stems themselves are distinguished by flattened outlines, their surface is smooth, at the base there is a small swirling area.
Leaf plates in width vary within 0, 3-1, 2 cm. The color of the foliage is dull greenish, its surface is rough, and the edge is sharp. The leaves are distinguished by naked sheaths, flattened, and closed. The leaf itself is elongated, linear-lanceolate.
When flowering, which occurs in the summer period, the hedgehog forms spectacular inflorescences in the form of panicles, they can reach 15 cm in length. Such inflorescences are distinguished by a one- or two-sided structure, lobed shape. They crown the tops of the stems. Inflorescences are painted in a grayish-green shade. The structure of the inflorescence is dense, but at the same time spreading. There is a torn tongue, which measures 0.6 cm. The spikelets themselves, which are part of the inflorescences, can be 5–8 mm in length. They consist of flowers, the number of which varies from 3 to 5 units, which directly depends on the variety. Flowers can occasionally take on purple tones. The shape of the flower is oblong, flattening is present on the sides. But it is the short elongated twigs that give the inflorescences the appearance of a hedgehog.
Important!!! Since during the flowering of the hedgehog (Dactylis glomerata) a specific toxin is released, which can provoke an allergic reaction of the human body to pollen (scientifically - hay fever), this should be taken into account by people with hypersensitivity. The main symptoms of manifestation are: acute inflammation affecting the skin, respiratory tract and mucous membranes of the eyes.
After pollination, the fruits ripen - caryopses with three oblong faces are formed. Gray grains appear from mid-summer to September. The seeds in them are rather small, so only 0, 8-1, 2 grams contain 1000 pieces.
The plant does not require undue cultivation effort. When planting in a garden, it is recommended to use it for curbs and ridges, the formation of mixborders and other lawns.
Recommendations for caring for hedgehogs when growing on a personal plot
- Tips for choosing a place for planting hedgehogs. The best location for growing Dactylis is a lawn in the sun, but some shading is also a good choice. At the same time, it is important that at the planting site there is no groundwater close to the soil surface, this contributes to the subsequent flooding and decay of the root system.
- Soil selection, in which this representative of cereals will feel good, is quite simple. All because of the unpretentiousness of the hedgehog, which is grown in loose substrates, characterized by fertility. Clay or loamy soils are also suitable. However, if the site is dominated by sandy and very light soil, then the development will be much worse. The acidity of the soil should be weak (with a pH of 4, 5–5, 5) or neutral (within a pH of 6, 5–7 units).
- Watering when caring for hedgehogs should be moderate, since the plant is negatively affected by waterlogging of the soil (cereals die very quickly), although it is moderately drought-resistant. It responds well to garden hose irrigation, especially in summer heat. If watering is insufficient, then, as a result, the yield will decrease.
- Wintering hedgehogs. This representative of cereals is distinguished by high winter hardiness, however, if early frosts occur in the fall, then Dactylis may suffer (planting becomes thinner), and snowless winters and frosts, which occur in late spring, will also be a problem in caring for it. For the winter, you can cover the plantings of hedgehogs with fallen dry leaves, but with the arrival of spring, the shelter is removed. To protect such lawns from the spring frost, you can cover them overnight with a nonwoven fabric (such as spandbond).
- General advice for the care of hedgehogs. Trampled planting of these cereal plants will suffer greatly, so they should not be planted on lawns intended for sports or walking. At the same time, the hedgehog behaves aggressively towards other cereals growing nearby. Other color fittings may also suffer. If you do not carry out regular thinning of crops, then the formation of bumps is possible.
- As practice shows, if a hedgehog is in grass mixtures, then it can feel great for a period of eight to ten years. When the planting of this cereal is clean, a good harvest of hay or seed is obtained already in the second year of cultivation. Only the third year of life corresponds to the full development of the hedgehog. It is the 2-3 growing season that makes it possible to obtain the highest seed yield. In order for the development and growth of hedgehogs to take place normally, the optimal heat indicators should be in the range of 15-18 degrees, but in order for the flowering to go well, the average temperature should not exceed 22 degrees. After the mowing of the plantings of this cereal is carried out, its rapid regrowth occurs. Weeding hedgehogs need not be carried out, since the weeds will be successfully drowned out by the very same cereal culture.
- The use of hedgehogs in landscape design. Since the appearance of Dactylis is not very bright, and the color of the inflorescences is grayish-green, the designers of garden plots recommend using its planting to form the so-called "ignoble lawns", which do not differ in strict beauty and ideal appearance. In addition, the hedgehog during the growing season has the property of releasing a specific toxin that has the ability to damage the plants growing in the neighborhood. Due to the fact that the hedgehog's root system has excellent branching, it is possible with its help to fix the slopes or slopes on the garden plot, preventing the soil from shattering. Often this representative of bluegrass is planted in mixborders or used for landscaping curbs, rabatok.
How to breed hedgehogs in the garden?
The best time for the reproduction of this cereal is during the spring or the last summer month. To carry out reproduction, they use the seed method or divide an overgrown bush.
With seed reproduction, the seeding of seeds is carried out to a depth of 1–1, 5 cm. Then the crops must be well watered. After 15–20 days have passed, the first shoots can be seen. However, it should be borne in mind that if the seeds are sown in rows with row spacings, then this method is the most perfect, since both sowing and planting of seeds are carried out at the same time, so the conditions for them are the same. After that, germination and development of young hedgehog seedlings will take place at the same time, this will lead to a decrease in losses when processing and harvesting the seeds. During the growing season, it is recommended to apply top dressing twice.
The division of the hedgehog bush in case of its strong growth is recommended to be carried out in the spring (before flowering) or in the fall (after harvest). Using a shovel, the bush is dug in and removed from the soil. Then, with the pointed end of a shovel, the root system is cut into pieces. At the same time, it is important that the cuttings are not too small, each must have a sufficient volume of the root system. Sections can be powdered with crushed charcoal. It is recommended to plant parts of hedgehogs in a prepared place in the garden.
Hedgehog: diseases and pests that occur when growing in the garden
Since the plant is part of the Cereals family, the same diseases are inherent in it that many of its representatives suffer. Among them are:
- Snow mold, which manifests itself as watery specks covered with a whitish or pinkish bloom, resembling a cobweb. The foliage begins to stick together and die off, with a strong defeat, the tillering node also dies off, then the roots and the whole plant die.
- Sclerotiniasis, caused by damping of plantings and defeat by the marsupial fungus Sclerotinia graminearum Elenev. It manifests itself in early spring, when the snow melts and a grayish mottling appears on the foliage, with formations resembling cotton wool lumps or flakes. To combat it is necessary with the beginning of the growing process, or even earlier, to feed with potassium-phosphorus fertilizers.
- Root rot and helminthosporiosis, which arise from the defeat of semi-parasitic fungi. Because of them, the root part and the root system of the hedgehog itself decay.
- Powdery mildew manifested by the coating of foliage and stems with a whitish bloom, reminiscent of dried lime mortar. If measures to combat the disease are not urgently taken, then the plaque becomes the cause of the occurrence of a sooty fungus.
- Cereal spots in hedgehogs, they are manifested by the formation of spots of various shapes and colors, leading to tissue necrosis.
- Dusty smut well distinguishable due to the fact that the spikelet turns into black dust, leaving only the stem of the inflorescence.
- Rust and mosaicstriking foliage. Spots of red color form on the leaves, and certain parts are painted in different colors, giving way to necrotic stripes.
To combat these diseases, pre-planting seed treatment is used (for example, with Polaris, ME) or spraying of plantings in the autumn with fungicides (for example, Benazol, SP). Powdery mildew is treated with colloidal sulfur.
Weevils and scoops, thrips and aphids, cereal flies and wireworms, bedbugs, fleas and meadow moths are isolated from the pests that affect the planting of hedgehogs and lead to a decrease in growth and productivity. Cicadas and seed-eaters, as well as many other harmful insects, bring the problem. The main measures for the control of harmful insects is the treatment of plants with insecticides and acaricides (for example, Aktara, Aktellik or Fitoverm).
The grass mite can be destroyed by mowing, which will be done in a timely manner and fairly low. It is also recommended to sow a hedgehog, alternating planting for a harvest of seeds and for hay.
Interesting hedgehog plant facts
Planting of this cereal is used not only for livestock feed. Due to the fact that there is a fairly rapid recovery of the green mass of the hedgehog, it is recommended to arrange lawns with the help of a plant. The first mentions of the use of hedgehogs as a culture date back to the 19th century.
Although the species of the national hedgehog (Dactylis glomerata) is not included in the pharmacopoeial lists of the Russian Federation, official medicine uses this plant when testing for an allergic reaction. It is also included in the preparation for allergen-specific therapy of the immune system for those patients who have an increased reaction to pollen released during flowering of meadow grasses.
However, not only this feature is present in the national team hedgehog. The plant has antitoxic properties and helps to improve the functioning of the digestive tract.
However, there is a contraindication to the use of hedgehog-based drugs - hay fever, which is an allergic reaction of the body to pollen.
Description of species and forms of hedgehogs
Hedgehog (Dactylis glomerata)also called Common hedgehog or Crowded hedgehog … The native area of distribution falls on the territory of Europe, North America and North Africa. The height of the stems reaches one and a half meters. Perennial. The root system has a fibrous outline, it can sink to a depth of soil up to a meter. Stems are erect, their surface is smooth, devoid of foliage. Roughness is present on the stem near the inflorescence. Due to the multiple stems, loose sods can form. In the root zone of the shoot, multiple leaf plates are formed, having an elongated linear or broad-linear shape. The leaves are soft to the touch, with a green tint. The sheet reaches 2 mm in width.
When flowering, lasting from June to July, panicles are formed, the length of which varies within 6–20 cm. These inflorescences are dense and rather dense, colored in a greenish-violet hue. The panicle consists of shortened shiny twigs. The spikelets are measured along the length of 8 mm, they are 2–6 flowers.
The fruit is an oblong weevil with a groove on the inside. Fruit length -1, 8-3 mm, there is an oval-shaped scar, the length of which is 6-8 times less than the caryopsis itself. Fruits ripen from mid-summer to September.
The most popular varieties of cathedral hedgehog among flower growers are considered to be:
- "Aschersoniana", characterized by low stem height.
- "Variegata flava" - attractive due to the variegated color of the leaf plates, including yellowish-green shades. The foliage of these plants is half evergreen.
- "Variegata striata" this variegated variety has whitish or golden stripes on the leaves, located longitudinally. It is usually used for planting in mixborders.
- VIC 61 characterized by erect stems forming a loose bush. The stems are rough and bare. Their height is 1.35 m, there is a high foliage. Inflorescences are a panicle with increased branching, their length is about 17 cm. Seeds are caryopsis with three edges, painted in light yellow color. The variety is mainly intended for pastures.
- "Birskaya" it is represented by a semi-lumpy bush with an average density. On the stems, leaf blades with a lanceolate shape, painted in light and dark green, unfold. The panicle inflorescence has a one-sided structure, its color is anthocyanin (blue-violet). The seeds are grayish-yellow in color, and a greenish tint is also present.
Altai hedgehog (Dactylis altaica)From the name of the variety it is clear that its native habitat falls on the territory of Siberia, Western China and Mongolia. The height of upright thick stems is 0, 4–1, 25 m. Their surface is bare, smooth under the toes. In the root zone, short leaves with a soft surface are formed. Their color is green or greenish gray. The foliage has closed sheaths along the entire length, but in the leaf plates in the root zone, they are flattened and have a rough surface. The width of the leaf is 5–12 cm, and the leaf plate also has a flat appearance, occasionally differing in looseness and complexity along.
Flowering begins in mid-summer and lasts until the end. At this time, the formation of panicle inflorescences, reaching a length of 7–12 cm, occurs. It consists of ascending, elongated and thick branches with a rough surface, topped with spikelets. Such spikelets gather in dense one-sided panicles. The spikelet length can vary within 5–8 mm, there are 2–5 flowers per spikelet. The length of the spikelet scales is 7 mm, their shape is lanceolate, there is a strong sharpening at the apex, the surface is bare or cilia can be located along the keel. Flowering scales located in the lower part vary in length in the range of 5–7 mm. Their appearance is sharp-keeled, at the very top there is a smooth transition into a shortened spine.