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How to Seed Kochia

The best way of determining the appropriate method for successful seeding of Kochia prostrata is to observe the plant as it matures. Depending on day length and temperature, prostrata will begin to mature in late October through December and fall to the ground in the general vicinity of the parent plant. It has a staggered mechanism for germination, which is common to many desert plants with high survivability.

The only time of the year to plant Kochia prostrata with certain success is from November through January in most parts of the intermountain west. It must be planted on or near the surface and several individuals have reported good success with broadcast application on top of the snow. Kochia prostrata is best sown on ground that has been disturbed in some fashion, the idea being to give it a place to "nest" at the surface of the soil when winter moisture hits it. For this reason, if a mix is contemplated, be sure that the other ingredients in your mix germinate well from the surface or one or the other will suffer from incorrect placement. Crested wheatgrass has often been cited in the literature as a companion for Kochia prostrata. However, the two are quite incompatible from a seeding depth viewpoint. One variety, which makes much more sense, is Sherman Big Bluegrass or Poa ampla. Not only will this grass germinate well from the surface, but it will produce a much more palatable grass at least three to four weeks earlier than any of the cresteds.

Available literature shows prostrata to be doing well from certain sections of south central Arizona to the Canadian border, from elevations close to sea level to well over 7,000 feet, and from precipitation zones of 5 to 20 inches. In fact, the wide adaptability of this versatile shrub is one of its hallmarks. It has very high adaptability to alkaline soils.

Recommended seeding rates for greenstrip firebreaks are 2.5 to 3 PLS pounds per acre and for mixed rangeland seedings 1.5 to 2 PLS pounds per acre.

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