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Bluestem Grass

Bluestem grass is mainly used as ornamental grass for landscaping. Read the article to know more about the different varieties of bluestem grass and their uses...

Bluestem grasses, mostly found in the US, grow in bunches and serves in different ways, one of which is that herds of cows and other livestock feed on bluestem grass hay and also graze on readily available fresh grass. These grasses are perennial grasses that come in different varieties. As mentioned before, all the varieties have certain uses which make these grasses not just great for ornamental purposes in landscaping but they also serve nature by helping in different ways.

Bluestem Grass Varieties

Bluestem grasses are mainly of three varieties, more on which is discussed below.

Little Bluestem Grass - Schizachyrium Scoparium

Being one of the most popular ornamental grasses for shade, the bluestem grass seeds for this variety is widely available in the market. As the name of this variety suggests, the length of it is shorter when compared to the other varieties. Little bluestem grasses can grow up to 3 - 4 feet and therefore are the shortest of the lot. Little bluestem grasses prefer a soil ph level of 7.0. This variety of bluestem grasses are prevalent in north America and Canada. Depending on the climate, these little bluestem grasses present themselves in different shades and colors. The appearance of it truly is refreshing and pleasing to the eyes and this is one of the reasons of it being used in landscaping. Fall is the best time when these grasses look their best as they appear in bright red with the fluffy seed stalks in silver-white. The other reason is that although it comes in bunches, it mixes quite well with the wild flowers. Another one of the interesting characteristics of little bluestem grasses is that it has a better drought tolerance as compared to big bluestem grasses.

Besides its ornamental use, the little bluestem grasses available in the wild and open and are grazed by the animals and they are also used to produce hay. Although these grasses are best grown at a soil ph of 7.0, they are capable of adapting to different soil conditions. Little bluestem grass is not quite long but their height is substantial to provide cover to small wildlife creatures.

Big Bluestem Grass - Andropogon Gerardii

Unlike little bluestem grasses, these grasses highly tolerant to all kind of soil conditions. They may survive in a less fertile and sandy soil but moist and clay-like soil suits best for big bluestem grasses for good growth. Big bluestem grasses can grow up to the height of 10 feet. Little bluestem grasses are the preferred choice when it comes to ornamental gardening and landscaping. But as big bluestem grasses are taller, they are great to form borders. Adding these to an ordinary flower garden in the form of borders could give it a distinct look, adding more to the attraction of the existing blooms. These tall bluestem grasses also help in stabilizing soil beside the regular use of providing forage to the livestock and also to the wild animals and birds. Birds also use these tall grasses as shelter for nesting and also get their food by way of their seeds.

Sand Bluestem Grass - Andropogon Hallii

Quite understandable with the name that sand bluestem grass grow in sandy soil and therefore are found in places with such soil conditions. They are mostly found in the great plains region that consist of grasslands and also in the mid-west and they grow up to a height of 7 feet. This variety of bluestem grass helps in stabilizing the sandy soil. And like the other bluestem grass, these also provide food and shelter to the wildlife animals. As these grasses are drought resistant, they are a great option for xeriscape gardens, so it could be used as border plants.

Now unlike the other varieties, the big bluestem grasses tends to grow out of proportion and spreads at a faster pace like weeds. To curb this fast growth, some bluestem grass control measures could be taken. One of the easiest way of controlling this is using herbicide such as bensulide, glyphosate, trifluralin etc.

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