Native Grasses

Cool Season

Western Wheatgrass

  • Western Wheatgrass is a native, cool season perennial, sod forming grass which reproduces from underground rhizomes and seeds
  • Western Wheatgrass spreads rapidly and forms a dense sod, making it valuable for erosion control
  • It produces an abundance of forage early in the season that is nutritious and readily eaten by livestock until late summer when it becomes harsh and fibrous
  • It makes a good quality hay if cut during the late bloom stand and can stand close grazing
  • Western Wheatgrass will do well on a wide range of soils, from sands to clay
  • It is very tolerant to alkali
  • This grass can be seeded in pure stands but is usually used in mixtures because it provides ground cover quite slowly


  • Indiangrass is a warm season grass that spreads by seed and short rhizomes
  • It grows to a height of 3 to 6 feet and will grow on sandy soil, however it is better adapted to moist well drained bottom lands
  • Indiangrass exhibits moderate salt tolerance and will withstand occasional flooding
  • It makes good quality hay if cut before flower stalks develop
  • Improved varieties of Indiangrass are Holt and Tomahawk


  • Buffalograss is a fine leaved native sod forming warm season perennial and is very low growing
  • It has leaves that are from 4 to 8 inches long
  • It makes rapid growth in late spring and summer
  • It recovers rapidly after a drought and can withstand heavy grazing
  • Buffalograss does a good job of erosion control and is used in lawns for drier areas and for airport runways, picnic areas, etc.

Garrison Creeping Foxtail

  • Garrison Creeping Foxtail is a long lived cool season, sod forming grass
  • It is adapted to wet soils, sub-irrigated sites or high mountain meadows
  • It can be used in mixtures on irrigated pastures
  • This grass grows fast in hot or cool weather, and forage production is very high, palatable, nutritious and relished by all classes of livestock
  • Garrison Creeping Foxtail is recommended for use in pasture mixes with other adaptable grasses

Green Needle Grass

  • Green Needle Grass is a cool season, perennial bunch type grass that grows from 1-1/2 to 3 feet tall
  • It is a native grass that grows on medium to fine textured soil
  • Green Needle Grass starts growth early in the spring, and is nutritious and palatable and remains green through the summer, except in very dry years
  • It has good regrowth in the fall and is grazed throughout the year
  • Stand establishment may be slow because of slow germination, caused in part to a high dormant seed content

Warm Season


  • Switchgrass is a warm season perennial that grows to a height of 2 to 5 feet, although bunchlike in appearance
  • Switchgrass has strong rhizomes that produce a coarse sod, particularly if grazed
  • It prefers area where moisture is abundant and can stand flooding for short periods and is used in water ways
  • This grass exhibits rapid growth in late spring and early summer and is readily grazed by cattle, horses, and sheep
  • It is high yielding and produces best if cut early
  • Newer varieties of this grass are Nebraska 28, Forestburg, and Sunburst

Big Bluestem

  • Big Bluestem is a warm season perennial bunch grass which grows to a height of 3 to 8 feet
  • It has roots that permeate the top 2 feet of soil
  • Big Bluestem is adapted to moist, deep, well drained soils
  • It is very palatable and nutritious
  • Big Bluestem that is continuously grazed closer than 6 to 8 inches will be replaced by less desirable grasses
  • Some of the better varieties are Bonilla, Bison, Pawnee and Roundtree

Little Bluestem

  • Little Bluestem is a warm season, leafy perennial bunch grass which grows to a height of 1 to 4 feet
  • It can be grazed and has food forage value when the leaves are tender and succulent
  • It does not cure well and has only moderate palatability for fall or winter grazing
  • Recommended variety of Little Bluestem in Camper

Side Oats Grama

  • Side Oats Grama is a warm season, erect native perennial grass which grows in tufts and open bunches to a height of 1 to 2 feet tall
  • It is more tolerant to drought than Indiangrass or Big Bluegrass
  • It grows fast in late spring and early summer and stays green late into the summer
  • Side Oats Grama has good forage value and is grazed mostly in late summer and fall
  • Improved varieties are Butte, Tailway and Pierre

Blue Grama

  • Blue Grama is short growing native warm season perennial bunch grass
  • It is found mostly in the Western Dakotas and Nebraska and withstands heavy grazing
  • It has high drought tolerance on all types of soil
  • This grass can be grazed in late summer, fall, or winter
  • Blue Grama is used for lawns in drier areas in mixtures with Buffalograss