Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracili)

Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracili)
Blue Grama

Blue Grama

Blue grama (Bouteloua gracili) can be found throughout the Great Plains and is a major warm season grass. Blue grama is a short plant  (10-20") with 3-6" narrow basal leaves. It grows in well defined bunches and reproduces by seed and tillering. Blue grama is often found in association with   buffalo grass, western wheat grass, needle grasses and in some places the bluegrasses. The curved seed heads resemble a human eyebrow. Blue grama will tolerate drought, fair saline, and moderate alkaline conditions and, when dormant, will tolerate burning. It won't tolerate flooding, high water tables, acidic soils or intense shade. In southern states, Blue grama is grown as a bunchgrass, while in the northern states or in heavily grazed areas it used as a sod former. Blue grama can be used in grass seed mixes for erosion control, low maintenance turf plantings, and surface mine re-vegetation projects. Like all native grasses Blue grama requires proper ground preparation. It's essential to kill the roots of cool-season grasses by cultivation and to ensure the seedbed is firm and not solid.  In the Great Plains seeding should occur late spring, while in areas further south it can begin earlier. In the Central Plains seeding should be done during the period from February to May. Either drilling or broadcasting can be used for planting and the seed should be sown no more than ¼ to ½" deep. A native grass seed drill should be used for planting.  The recommended seeding rate is 1-3 PLS pounds per acre. Mulching and irrigation is recommended in harsh areas. While Blue grama tolerates low-nutrient soils better than those that are acidic, soil testing should be undertaken to determine any nutrient deficiencies. In the Western areas plant Blue grama in with stubble, a sorghum cover crop or in with the crop itself. Blue grama is very palatable to livestock all year long once the grass is established. The growing points are close to ground surface, therefore close grazing may occur.  Defer grazing during the growing season every 2-3 years for best yields. During the dormant season Blue grama is a good grass for grazing as it cures well on the stem. Renovation of sod bound stands is also recommended.  To manage weeds use controlled grazing, mowing or herbicides. [table “” not found /]

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