Blue Grama

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Blue Grama native grass

Scientific name

Bouteloua gracilis (Willd. Ex Kunth.) Lag. Ex Griffiths  


Blue Grama is a native, perennial, warm-season, short grass that seldom grows taller than 12 to 20 inches. Blue Grama reproduces only by seed, and as the seed heads mature, they usually bend into a curve that resembles a human eyelash. It produces a low basal type growth that forms a bunchy sod. Blue Grama is grown throughout the Great Plains, and is found in association with buffalograss in the short grass prairies. It is more drought resistant and tolerates alkali conditions better than Sideoats Grama. Blue Grama produces highly palatable, nutritious forage that retains its feed value into the winter. Blue Grama does not produce an abundance of forage, and should not be grazed closer than 2 to 3 inches during the growing season.

Plant Taxonomy of Blue Grama

 Kingdom  Plantae  
 Subkingdom  Tracheobionta
 Superdivision  Spermatophyta
 Division    Magnoliophyta
 Class     Lillosida
 Subclass      Commelinidae
 Order   Cyperales
 Family    Poaceae
 Genus  Bouteloua
 Species  Bouteloua gracilis (Willd. Ex Kunth.) Lag. Ex Griffiths  

Plant Characteristics of Blue Grama

 Height  12 -20 inches
 Growth habit  bunchgrass
 Bloom period  summer
 Leaf foilage color  gray-green
 Sun requirement  full sun
 Seeds per pound  750,000
 Minimum soil temperature for germination  50 to 55 Fº
 Soil pH range  6.6 to 8.4
 Planting Rate  2 to 4 PLS  lbs/acre
 Planting Depth  ¼ to ½ inch
 Planting season  March to May

Uses of Blue Grama

Erosion control: Blue grama is an excellent choice for erosion control when used as a component in warm season grasses mixes in the short- grass regions of the country.  Blue grama has been used as a low-maintenance turfgrass as well as surface revegetation following mining operations.

Livestock: In southern areas of the U.S. blue grama is primarily a bunchgrass. Under heavy grazing and in more northern states is can form a sod.  

Commercially Available Cultivars of Blue Grama

'Lovington' (AES from New Mexico in 1963)

'Hachita' (Plant Materials Center release from New Mexico in 1980)

'Alma' (Cooperative release fromPlant Materials Center in New Mexico and the Colorado and New Mexico AES’s in 1992)

Blue Grama Seedling and Growth Guide

5 days after planting                                                                 8 days after planting

18 days after planting                                                             28 days after planting

34 days after planting                                                             65 days after planting