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FutureStarrSideoats Grama Grass or
Side-oats grama is a bunchy or sod-forming grass with 2-3 ft. stems in erect, wiry clumps. Purplish, oat-like spikelets uniformly line one side of the stem, bleaching to a tan color in the fall. The basal foliage often turns shades of purple and red in fall. This is a perennial warm season grass; clump forming. Two varieties are recognized: variety curtipendula is shorter and more rhizomatous and ranges from southern Canada to Argentina. Variety caespitosa spreads more by seed than by rhizomes, is more of a bunchgrass, and is restricted mostly to southwestern North America.
Side Oats Grama is a short perennial deep-rooted prairie grass that grows to about 2′ tall, give or take. This grass is native to most of the United States and can often be found in dry slopes, prairies, even along railroad tracks. It is often used in prairie restoration and erosion control as its deep fibrous roots system help with stabilizing the soil while being drought-tolerant at the same time. What makes Sideoats Grama so interesting is that it grows flowers along one side of its stems! In early to mid-Summer you will get orange/red flowers that hang down and dangle in the wind. I have multiple specimens in our backyard micro prairie, and will likely add more since it blends well and doesn’t overcrowd any of the flowers.24-28” tall x 15” wide. A superb native grass, Sideoats Grama Grass (Bouteloua curtipendula) is a delight in the xeric garden. This grass will provide year-round visual interest in waterwise gardens, and is not appetizing to deer. It grows best with full sun and thrives in any soil type including clay. Established plants are quite xeric and a fine choice for very dry sites. Mature plants have an attractive vase-shaped growth habit that mixes in nicely with other native late season bloomers like Rudbeckia, Ratibida, and Salvia azurea.
Test the soil for deficiencies and apply needed phosphorus, potassium or lime prior to seeding. No additional fertilization is required after the stand has been established. Once the stand is well established, regulate the grazing patterns to avoid over-grazing. This should be particular note toward the end of the growing season as grass grazed too closely weakens the root structure which holds the food supply through winter. Competing woody shrubs, undesirable weds and extensive mulch build-up can be managed by a controlled burn done in the late winter before the vegetation has begun its spring growth. Always check with an expert in grass management, such as our personnel at Sharp Brothers Seed Company before attempting such a burn for advice as to the proper technique to be used. Our personnel are trained to listen to your needs, help develop your program for planting and suggest suitable varieties for your location. With planning the preparation, your stand of Side-Oats Grama will supply you with dependable, warm-season forage crop for years to come. (Source: sharpseed.com)