Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gramma Grass


Bouteloua curtipendula ( Side Oats Gramma )
A rhizomatous to clumping, long-lived perennial grass forming a dense, blue-green foliage clump up to 1.5 feet in height, that is native to grasslands in central North America ( from Alberta to Kenora, Ontario to southern Michigan to the eastern end of Lake Ontario to Connecticut; south to southern California to Arizona to southern Texas to southern Alabama to Virginia ). It is most often found on sandy plains or rocky plateaus. Side Oats Gramma Grass is threatened in Michigan. It is found in the highly threatened bur oak savanna in northwestern Ontario. It can be used as a drought tolerant turf grass in the Great Plain states and be kept mowed at 2 to 4 inches.
This is a warm season grass. The finely-textured leaf blades are very narrow ( up to 0.25 inches wide ). The bluish-gray foliage turns to golden-brown to reddish-bronze during autumn.
The purple flower plumes reach up to 3.3 feet in height and are borne during early to mid summer. The flowers later fade to tan seeds.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on well drained, sandy or clay soil. Drought tolerant and deer resistant.

* photos taken by Leland J. Prater @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

'El Reno'
Fast growing with strong upright habit, reaching up to 3 feet in bloom.
It is very cold tolerant ( zone 3 to 7 ) and exceptionally disease resistant. It is useful as a forage plant.

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

Especially well adapted for central to southern Texas, this form originated near Haskell, Texas. It is a rhizomatous form. The foliage is blue-green.
It requires 18+ inches of yearly rainfall.

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

Bouteloua dactyloides ( Buffalograss )
A perenniall grass native to the central U.S. ( from central Montana to southeast Saskatchewan to southern Manitoba to southern Wisconsin; south to southeast Arizona to central Mexico to northwest Louisiana ). It is endangered in Canada. It is also often used as turf grass in arid climates.

Bouteloua gracilis ( Mosquito Grass )
Also called Blue Gramma. A moderate growing, long lived, warm season perennial grass, reaching up to 15 inches in height, that is native to central North America ( from south-central British Columbia to Edmonton, Alberta to Swift Current, Saskatchewan to Brandon, Manitoba; south to Mexico ). It is classified as endangered in Illinois. Mosquito Grass is the state grass of New Mexico and Colorado. It is a dominant plant of shortgrass prairie ecosystems on the Great Plains where its thick rootsystems are extremely valuable for preventing dust bowls or soil wind erosion. It is an attractive plant and is also useful to large scale commercial projects and erosion control. For lawn use, it should be mowed no lower than 1.5 inches in height and once monthly.
The fine-textured foliage is luxuriant bright green to blue-green. The leaf blades are up to 10 x 0.1 inches in size. It may be evergreen in coastal parts of California.
The flower plumes are reddish. The flower plumes appear during mid summer and last into early autumn.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun on well drained soil whether sand or clay. Extremely drought and heat tolerant, roots have been known to grow as much as 6.5 feet deep and extend as much as 1.5 feet. For a lawn, sow 1 pound of seed for 1000 square feet during early autumn and irrigate deeply until established.

* photo taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

'Bad River Ecotype'
text coming soon

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

'Blonde Ambition'
A larger, more vigorous form, reaching up to 3 x 3.5 feet. Very fast growing, it may reach almost its full size after just one year.
The foliage is blue-green.
The profuse, large, greenish-yellow flowers are borne horizontally above the foliage.
They are followed by tan colored seed heads borne on sturdy stems.
The seed heads remain attractive through the winter.
It is recommended for both the home garden and low maintenance commericial plantings.

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