How to count plants

June 4, 2014 - Issue 9

May 28, 2015 - Issue 11

Start counting a week after seeding and repeat a couple of times over the following two weeks.

Sample a few random areas in the field to get a feel for establishment. Try different topographies and refer to field notes to make a connection, if any, between seed survival and field conditions at and after seeding.

With the first count, mark a few specific spots, count and record emerged plants within those areas, and then revisit that same area a few days later to recount.

How to count…

By length of row. Use a metre stick and count the seedlings per metre of row. Take that number and multiply by 100 then divide by the seed row spacing in cm to get plants per square metre. For example, 25 plants per metre multiplied by 100 then divided by 25 cm (10” row spacing) is 100 plants per square metre. (Divide by 10 for a rough indication of plants per square foot.) Repeat.

Using hoops: To do counts, use a hoop with an inside diameter of 56 cm. This is equivalent to 0.25 of a square metre. Count the number of plants inside the hoop, and multiply by 4 to get plants per square metre. (Divide by 10 if you want plants per square foot.) Repeat.

NOTE: When doing plant counts, be sure to subtract volunteers. Plants growing outside the seed row are likely volunteers. Very early looking plants are also likely volunteers. You can check by looking for the blue seed coat around the seed.

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