Blue Grama Grasses For Landscaping

Blue Grama Grasses For Landscaping

Blue grama grasses are bunch grasses native to the Great Plains found in pastures, grazing land and open unmanaged fields. Only 12-14 in. in full flower, this is among the shortest of the native ornamental grasses. It is fine-leaved and produces blue-green seedheads which are suspended horizontally like tiny brushes from the tip of each stem. The plant turns tan when dormant. This is an important, drought-resistant, short grass in the mixed prairies and throughout the Great Plains and the Southwest. Great also for planting in a wildflower meadow and grows easily from seed. One of the most important forage grasses in native ranges. The ideal time for planting blue grama grass is two months before the first frost in fall. Prepare a seed bed by tilling the area and adding compost or mixed grit to ensure drainage and percolation. Rake out any imperfections and debris and grade the area. The seed is fine and should be mixed with sand for sowing at a rate of 3 pounds per 1,000 feet. You can load a seed spreader to the desired ratio and then lightly water the area after application. Keep the bed moist in spring, but not soggy, until germination which generally occurs within 7 to 10 days once soil temperatures warm up.

These lovely fine-leaved bluish grasses are easy to maintain and requires little of the standard turf grass treatment that other cultivated varieties seem to demand. If you do fertilize, feed in early spring with a low nitrogen grass feed. The grass has no thatch buildup and grows slowly, which requires minimal mowing. Mow at a high level of approximately 4 inches for best grass health. The biggest problem with the plant is rust, fungal rot or smuts. Any of these can be prevented for the most part by following good blue grama grass care and only watering in extreme drought and only when the blades of grass have time to dry in the coolest part of the day. Wet foliage in high heat tends to form the fungal diseases that cause these major problems.

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