Conservation Grasses

Varieties and growth characteristics of grasses used for reclaiming sites, new developments, highway banks, disturbed soil, gas drilling locations, ditches, pastures, strip mines and wetlands.

Seeding rates shown below are at the higher end of most recommended seeding rates. Also, seeding rates below are for "PLS" or Pure Live Seed. Therefore, if a seeding rate calls for 10 lbs per acre, and you have a seed with an 80% germination rate, plant 12½ lbs per acre. Math calculation: 12.5 lbs x .80 germination rate = 100% PLS

Big Bluestem - Andropogon gerardii

  • Uses: Erosion control plant for gravel pits, sand pits, mine spoil and road banks. Provides cover and food for wildlife.
  • Planting: Early spring seeding at 20 lbs per acre. Compact the soil after seeding. Slow germination, but good cover by the end of the second year.
  • Sites: Prefers sunny, dry, well-drained areas and tolerates drought. Tolerates low-fertility on acidic clay, sand or loam soils. pH 5.0 - 7.5

Crested Wheatgrass - Agropyron cristatum

  • Uses: Stabilization of disturbed soils. Forage production in arid western regions of the U.S.
  • Planting: Seed in early spring at 10 lbs per acre, or as a dormant seeding in late fall.
  • Sites: Low maintenance grass that is drought resistant and winter hardy. This fairway type is not as drought tolerant as standard crested wheatgrass.
   Gas drilling site with a large area of disturbed soil

Gas drilling site with a large area of disturbed soil

Deertongue - Panicum clandestinum

  • Uses: Acid mine spoil vegetation, road banks, ditches and gravel pits.
  • Planting: Early spring seeding at 15 lbs per acre. Full cover in two years. Add 15 lbs of tall fescue or perennial rye for faster cover.
  • Sites: Prefers sunny areas. Grows in low fertility, acidic, loam or sandy soil. Excellent drought tolerance. pH 3.8 - 5.0

Eastern Gamagrass - Tripsacum dactyloides

  • Uses: High energy forage in pastures, and for wildlife. Its natural habitat includes stream banks, swales and moist areas.
  • Planting: Early spring or a late fall dormant seeding at 8 lbs per acre.
  • Sites: Adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions. Drought tolerant. Responds well to fertilization.

Indiangrass - Sorghastrum nutans

  • Uses: Hay and pasture grass, wildlife habitat, erosion control and roadside beautification.
  • Planting: Early spring seeding at 10 lbs per acre.
  • Sites: Throughout the northern US, preferring deep, well-drained soil. Tolerates moderately wet soils. pH 5.5 - 7.5

Intermediate Wheatgrass - Agropyron intermedium

  • Uses: For fast establishment in reclamation areas and waterways.
  • Planting: Early spring seeding. Responds well to nitrogen fertilization.
  • Sites: Grows best in well drained loam soils, but adaptable to wet areas. pH 5.6 - 8.4

Little Bluestem - Andropogon scoparius

  • Uses: Slopes, road banks and summer forage for livestock. Provides cover and food for wildlife.
  • Planting: Seed at 12 lbs per acre.
  • Sites: Doesn't compete well with other species. Prefers a pH of 5.5 - 6.5

Meadow Foxtail - Alopecurus pratensis

  • Uses: Meadows, swampy soils and wetlands. Turkey habitat.
  • Planting: Use in mixtures at 5 lbs per acre.
  • Sites: Heat tolerant and winter hardy. Widely adapted but prefers cool, moist, neutral to acidic soil.

Sand Lovegrass - Eragrostis trichodes

  • Uses: Warm season, native grass. Begins spring growth earlier than other grasses.
  • Planting: Seed in spring at 4 lbs per acre.
  • Sites: Prefers sandy soil in full sun, but tolerates heavier soils. pH 4.5 - 8.0

Sideoats Grama - Bouteloua curtipendula

  • Uses: Native warm season perennial grass east of the Rocky Mountains on dry, rocky or sandy sites. Used in wildflower plantings. Turkey cover and food source.
  • Planting: Seed in spring at 15 lbs per acre.
  • Sites: Nearly any soil type in full sun to partial shade.

Switchgrass - Panicum virgatum

  • Uses: Stabilization on sand dunes, dikes and strip mine spoil. Good cover for wildlife.
  • Planting: Seed at 10 lbs per acre. Establishment in one to two years.
  • Sites: Tolerates low-fertility acidic clay, loam or sandy soils. Excellent drought tolerance. pH 4.5 - 7.5

Weeping Lovegrass - Eragrostis curvula

  • Uses: Fast growing, temporary cover for erosion control or mine spoil. Grass is more permanent in southern areas of the US. Cover for ground nesting birds. Nurse grass.
  • Planting: Spring seeding through July, after all chance of frost has ended.
  • Sites: Tolerates low fertility but prefers well drained soil. pH 4.5 - 8.0