Oklahoma Native Grasses

Oklahoma Native Grasses

Oklahoma Native Grasses

Bobwhite quail require a substantial amount of bare ground for easy travel and for finding seeds and insects. The sod-grass growth form of bermudagrass, however, essentially eliminates bare ground, especially over time. The bunchgrass habit of several native warm-season grasses such as little bluestem, big bluestem, sideoats grama and Indiangrass are generally prevalent within good to excellent bobwhite habitat because they provide the open space that quail require. In addition, the open space between grass clumps allows a diversity of other grasses and forbs to establish, which elevates the attractiveness and value of the habitat for quail. Although research has shown that adult and sub-adult quail can maneuver through stands of bermudagrass to some extent, their movements are greatly slowed because of the lack of bare ground.



Adult quail lead young broods to forb-rich habitats almost immediately after hatching as these weed-dominated areas usually provide an abundance of bare ground and nutrient-rich insects under a dense canopy of leaves. While many forbs and grasses can provide suitable brood cover, a diverse mix of plants is best to maximize insect diversity and abundance. Unfortunately, because of its sod-like growth form and competitive nature, large stands of bermudagrass rarely offer suitable brood habitat and can actually trap very young chicks within the thick growth, exposing them to predators and weather extremes. In addition, the sod-like growth limits maneuverability of young chicks and impedes their ability to catch insects.When planning an herbicide treatment, it is important to remember that bermudagrass is immune to nearly every herbicide when it is applied during the dormant period including the winter and early spring months and during periods of extreme heat and drought. Therefore, it is important to spray only during an active growth period which, in Oklahoma, is optimum during June. Although the specific herbicide options are many, both grass-selective herbicides and non-selective herbicides have proven effective in the control of bermudagrass (see table).

Grass-selective herbicides are formulated to control specific weeds but are much less toxic to other plants. Non-selective herbicides are formulated to control both broadleaf and grass weeds. Prior to spraying, however, it is highly recommended to burn the stand of bermudagrass during March or heavily graze the stand during April and May to stimulate new, fresh growth. While mowing is another option to stimulate new growth, the heavy thatch can blanket growing plants and prevent the herbicide from coming into contact with growing stems and leaves. Monitoring the areas that were sprayed and spot spraying problem areas is a must for at least 12 months and can go a long way in maximizing control of bermudagrass. Over time, native annual and perennial plants will establish and, with a little luck, quail will follow. Warner Brothers Seed Company in Oklahoma - Producers, processors, and suppliers of Native grass seed and Introduced grass seed, forbs, and legumes. Dedicated to providing quality planting seed for pasture and rangeland improvement, quality permanent hay fields, land reclamation, pasture renovation, grazing, erosion control, biomass crops, biofuels, conservation practices, wildlife habitat enhancement, pipeline and mining reclamation, roadside revegetation, landscaping, low maintenance grasses for golf courses, parks, schools, airports, yards, cemeteries and etc. (Source: www.wbseedco.com)


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