How to dry these grass seedheads (pic)

donn_(7b-8a)July 29, 2005

I wintersowed and grew a couple of clumps of Giant Foxtail (Setaria faberi)this year, and I'm going to cut all but a few heads before the seeds ripen. What's the best way to dry these guys for ornamental use?

Heads are up to 8" long and 1" diameter. Stems up to 5'.

Thanks in advance

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Donn, Beautiful seedheads. Can't remember whether I've ever tried this specific grass but most I've easily dried just standing in container (no water) in dark place with good ventilation. The heads will retain their lovely curve this way. If you liked you could hang upsidedown by the stems and heads will dry straight and, depending on how sturdy the stems are, may remain that way.

You can strip off leaves or leave on but they may curl as they dry. Just depends on effect you want. One of my books suggests laying grasses out on newspaper to dry to better retain shape of leaves. I've never tried this.

Good luck. I hope one of the professional growers will reply. josh (just enthusiastic amateur)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:01AM
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Much appreciated, Josh. I'll dry them to retain the curves.

This is a quiet forum, eh?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 5:59AM
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Yes, I wish we had more folks checking in on this forum. I'm often the 'first responder' and if I've had any experience at all I'll give it my best shot, but we've several professionals that post occasionally and I'm always hoping they'll perform 'backup'. ~grin~

Hope you'll give us feedback on how your grass performs. The info will no doubt be available on the back pages for some time and may help others. josh

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 12:13PM
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lmariesteve(z5 OH)

Donn, this week on Today they had a bridal fashion show and one of the bouquets one of the girls carried had hydrangeas and what looked like your foxtail hanging off the side of the bouquet. It was very attractive. They were fresh, but you could dry it after it was made up. Would look good place into a short vase. Linda

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 10:53PM
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The experiment, for this year at least, is a failure. I cut and dried a couple of dozen of the heads, and they shed furiously. No good inside, and after shedding, they're pretty naked.

I cut down all but a few heads, and bagged those in cheesecloth while the seed ripens.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 12:50PM
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lmariesteve(z5 OH)

That happened to me with pampas grass. Several years in a row, I had dried them and they held up fine. I wonder if it has to do with the stage you pick them at. I've made wreaths out of them and even spray painted them and they look really nice- something different. Maybe try it again next year and pick them a little earlier?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 10:18AM
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Donn, Sorry that your Setaria seedheads shattered. I've had that happen when picking various roadside grasses.

If you're growing specifically for drying,perhaps this site may help. They show pretty good photos of other Setaria plus other species. Good site to browse. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Dried Grasses

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 4:47AM
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