Alkali Sacaton (Sporobolu airoides)

Alkali Sacaton (Sporobolu airoides)
alkali-sacaton.jpg Alkali sacaton (Sporobolu airoides) is a tough perennial grass that grows in large bunches that are 2 to 3½ feet tall.  Alkali sacaton ranges from South Dakota to Washington, south to Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and Mexico. The culms of Alkali sacaton are erect to spreading and range in height from 20” to 40”. Its blades are generally less than ⅛” wide and are flat, elongate and become involute. Alkali sacaton grows in dry to moist areas with sand or gravelly soil.  It is often found on alkaline flats, prairies, and sandy plateaus and is also common along drainage lines in desert and semi-desert regions. Propagation using seed should be undertaken in a green house in Spring. The seeds should be covered lightly with a layer of mulch and germination should occur in 2 weeks. Once the seedling can be handled they should be planted in the Summer in their final position. Large divisions may be planted directly in their final location.  Smaller divisions on the other hand, should be placed in individual pots in cold frames and then planted during the summer after they have become well established.

Alkali Sacaton Seedling

Once Alkali Sacaton plants become well established they require little looking after. This plants abundant herbage is eaten by cattle, sheep, and horses and makes a good forage or grazing grass in lowland and in alkali regions. Ideally stands of this species should be grazed during the spring and summer when growth is at its most active. Alkali sacaton grass is also an excellent grass for erosion control. The Hopi Indians use the seeds in times of famine. They were ground into flour, eaten dry or made into a mush.

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