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FutureStarrBluestem grass for cattle
Bluestem grasses are coarse, sometimes tufted plants with flat or folded leaf blades and solid or pithy stems. The stems are often hairy, sometimes reddish or greenish in appearance. Several species have rhizomes (underground stems) and can spread vegetatively. The flower spikelets are typically clustered at the stem tips or in the leaf axils and produce fruits with straight or twisted awns.
Big bluestem is not only revered for its functional properties, but it is also grown for its decorative features. This grass adds a pop of color to a landscape all year round—transitioning from bright green in the spring, to a blue-ish green in the summer, and a fiery copper-red in the fall months. When it flowers, it boasts small purple or yellow spikelets. Accent a native flower garden with a bunch of big bluestem, or plant it as a border for an open property line: This fast-growing grass is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions. Plant your big bluestem in late winter or early spring.Big bluestem is used extensively in landscaping and in agriculture. Its high biomass and high protein content make it a great forage for horses, cattle, and wild animals. It is also great for erosion control and has become an important part of rehabilitating areas that have been overgrazed or farmed. From July to October, big bluestem sports large inflorescences that become three-part seed heads. These seed heads resemble turkey feet, which led to one of its other common names: turkey foot grass.
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi) is a warm-season, perennial bunchgrass that is native to North America. It grows well in temperate, arid climates with warm summers and cool winters. USDA hardiness zones 4-9 are ideal for big bluestem. It is a hardy grass that grows up to 8-feet tall, with thick roots that grow 6- to 10-feet deep. Big bluestem spreads through seed as well as tough rhizomes which makes big bluestem excellent sod. In fact, big bluestem was widely responsible for the formation of the famous prairie sod.Big bluestem is found growing in the dry soils of the North American prairies. It is highly adaptable to a range of soil conditions, from sandy soils to clay soils, as long as they are well-draining. Big bluestem also grows well in less-than-ideal soil conditions and can tolerate poor quality soils, soils with a low pH, and shallow soils. This grass cannot tolerate highly alkaline soils or highly compacted soils that are not well-draining. (Source: www.thespruce.com)