Tame Grasses 

Smooth bromegrass is a perennial cool-season sod grass with vigorous rhizomes. Flowering culms may reach 4 ft tall. Spikelets have several florets and are borne in panicles that open with maturity. Leaves are many, flat, mostly basal, smooth, and shiny. An M-shaped constriction about two thirds up the leaf blade is a key identifying characteristic that is shared with other bromegrasses and reed canarygrass. Leaf sheaths are closed and tubular, open only near the top. It is a native of the Old World, introduced in 1884 and naturalized in the northern 2/3 of the United States and adjacent areas of Canada. Bromegrass is widely cultivated as hay, silage and pasture. It grows best where it gets 18 inches of moisture but it is found statewide in many areas. Brome is the most commonly planted forage in SD, it’s palatable, of good quality and can provide nesting sites and wildlife protection.

Meadow bromegrass Meadow bromegrass was collected in Turkey and first introduced to the United States in 1949. The variety 'Regar' was released in 1965. Meadow bromegrass contains some of the good features of both smooth bromegrass and orchardgrass. This grass can extend the prime grazing season as well as increase total forage production, and is very compatible with alfalfa. It yields as much or more total forage as smooth bromegrass, has much faster recovery and better fall growth. It differs from smooth bromegrass in being much less strongly creeping, and is slower to become established. It has more basal leaves. The forage quality is similar to that of smooth bromegrass. The vegetative growth is very palatable to all classes of livestock as both green forage and cured hay. Meadow bromegrass has good drought tolerance and excellent winter-hardiness. It has performed well at elevations from 500 feet to over 6,000 feet. There is some indication that its range may extend into a lower rainfall zone and to slightly lower elevations than smooth bromegrass. It is a long-lived, perennial bunchgrass with a tendency for some vegetative spreading under dry land conditions and a moderate amount under irrigation. Meadow bromegrass produces short, stout rhizomes 4 to 6 inches long. This characteristic provides soil protection not found in other bunchgrasses. The stand does not decline in productivity as rapidly as other vigorous, sod-binding grasses. It is a heavy producer of roots and crowns. The plant has numerous light green leaves that are predominantly basal and mildly pubescent. The seed stalks are from 24 to 48 inches high and extend above the leaf mass in an open panicle. Plants head and mature seven to 10 days earlier than smooth bromegrass. Seeds of meadow bromegrass are similar in appearance to smooth bromegrass seeds, but are almost twice the size and have much larger awns. Plants may have either white or purple seed.
Creeping foxtail Creeping foxtail is a cool-season perennial, native to Eurasia. The first introductions arrived in North Dakota in 1902 from the Ukraine, and were established in isolated areas. The common name "creeping foxtail" has caused some concern, as it is often confused with the weedy grass, foxtail barley, although it does not look anything like it. It grows native on wet, salty soils, on flood plains, along rivers and streams, and in bogs. Creeping foxtail is a long-lived perennial with dense, vigorous rhizomes. It rapidly forms a dense sod as individual plants may spread as much as 4 feet in one year. The numerous, dark green leaves are flat, broad and lax. The spike-like seed head is cylindrical and elongated (2 to 4 inches long). The seed head looks very similar to that of timothy. Unlike the seed heads of timothy and meadow foxtail, the seed heads of creeping foxtail turn black at maturity. The glumes are sharply keeled and long ciliate along the keel. Depending upon soil moisture and available nutrients, the plants vary from 2 to 6 feet tall. This species initiates growth very early in the spring, setting mature seed by late June. This grass is adapted to a wide range of soils, provided sufficient soil moisture is available. It performs well on sands, loam, clay, peat, and muck soils. It is tolerant of both moderately acid (pH 5.6 to 6.0) and moderately alkaline (pH 7.9 to 8.4) soils. It has moderate salt tolerance of 12 to 14 mmhos/cm. Creeping foxtail requires a continual supply of soil moisture by irrigation or sub irrigation, and will survive under dry land conditions with a minimum of 25 inches precipitation annually. It will withstand flooding by as much as 2 to 3 feet of water for as long as 30 days without injury. Creeping foxtail is best adapted to the cooler regions in northern United States .
Tall wheatgrass is an introduced wheatgrass, brought into the United States from Turkey and the U.S.S.R. It is a tall vigorous, cool-season, bunchgrass that is the latest maturing grass adapted to the continental climatic areas of the Western United States. Tall Wheatgrass is especially tolerant of saline and alkali soils and high yields are obtained even to elevations of 7,500 feet. Plants mature late in the season, producing a large seed that is easily planted. On strong alkali or under drought conditions, leaves become a darker blue-green, but with adequate moisture and fertility, growth will begin early and continue into the late summer. Tall Wheatgrass is being used by state conservation departments for upland game cover. Pheasants use it extensively for food and cover, especially in the winter. Stays green up to 30 days longer than other wheatgrass, even on imperfectly drained soils. Alkar is a good variety for this region.

Orchardgrass is a cool-season, long lived; perennial bunchgrass that commonly forms large tussocks by tillering. Spikelets are crowded into distinct clusters in moderately compact to open panicles 4 to 10 inches long on the culms 2 to 4 feet tall. Leaf blades are very soft, flat except V shaped near the base, long and arching.

Orchardgrass was introduced from Europe in the late 1700’s. It is used to some extent in the Great Plains where irrigated or moisture exceeds 25 inches.

Although Orchardgrass is winter hardy and long-lived in its primary range, in South Dakota a lack of autumn moisture almost always results in severe stand loss. Autumn irrigation retards loss. Orchardgrass is not as early as many other perennial cultivated cool-season grasses.

Timothy is a short-lived, cool-season perennial bunchgrass attaining heights of 2-3 feet. The spike-like panicle is cylindrical, very compact, and crowded with numerous slightly bristly, U-shaped spikelets. Leaves are glabrous and flat. Blades are ¼ to ½ inch wide, up to 12 inches long, and taper to a thin point. The ligule is membranous. Each culm arises from a swollen or bulb like base, a key identification feature. Timothy is used primarily in the eastern portion of SD and naturalized extensively in Black Hills meadows. It maintains itself in moist areas and responds well to irrigation and fertilizer. It is moderately alkaline tolerant. Timothy is one of the most winter-hardy; tame forage grasses, often grown with legumes. Horse fanciers favor it for hay. Creeping foxtail closely resembles timothy in appearance, origin and use.

Intermediate wheatgrass, a perennial, cool season sod-former, grows 2 to 4 ½ feet tall. The inflorescence is a spike 4 to 8 inches long with slightly overlapping spikelet’s set close to the flowering stems. Glumes and lemmas are characteristically blunt tipped or short pointed but with rounded shoulders at the tip. Leaf blades are blue-green or green, flat and strongly ribbed. Auricles are well developed and clasping. Intermediate wheatgrass was introduced from Russia in the 1930’s, it has become important hay and pasture grass that is best adapted to areas of the western United States with 15 to 25 inches of precipitation. Intermediate wheatgrass is sometimes confused with western wheatgrass but differs in its blunt tipped glumes and lemmas. It produces excellent hay and pastures alone or in combination with alfalfa, ranking third behind smooth Brome grass and crested wheatgrass in tame grass plantings in the Dakotas. Grazing readiness is about 2 weeks later than crested wheatgrass. Drought tolerance is higher than smooth Brome grass but less than crested wheatgrass. It has moderate tolerance to salty soils. It is seasonally fair to good for elk, deer, and cattle and provides good cover for upland birds. Regionally adapted varieties include Chief, Oahe, and Slate.

A form of intermediate wheatgrass with pubescent spikelet’s is pubescent wheatgrass, at one time given species status as A.trichophorum, There is some evidence that pubescent wheatgrass is more drought tolerant, persistent, and better adapted to low fertility soils. Regionally adapted varieties include Manska, Mandan and Luna.

Crested wheatgrass This early growing, cool-season bunchgrass is easily identified because of its flattened seed heads which are highly variable in size, mostly 1 ¼ to 3 ¼ inches long. Normal plant height is 1 ½ to 3 feet. The moderately coarse leaves are mostly basal and flat when growing, have auricles, and tend to roll inward when dry. Crested wheatgrass is a late 1800’s introduction from Siberia, gaining favor as a soil holder during the drought of the 1930s when it was recognized as being highly drought tolerant. It has been widely planted in the drier portions of the Great Plains and farther west in areas receiving 8 to 20 inches of precipitation annually. In these areas more acreage of crested wheatgrass has been planted for forage and soil stabilization than any other introduced grass. In South Dakota, the abundance of crested wheatgrass decreases from west to east. Early spring growth and ability to withstand drought and spring grazing make crested wheatgrass a prized pasture grass in range country, It is palatable and nutritious when actively growing. Crested wheatgrass has good production, excellent persistence, and grows well with alfalfa. Responses to fertilization are good. Old stands can improve remarkably with application of nitrogen.

Tame Grasses 

 Brome Grass

 Luna Pubescent Wheatgrass

 Annual Rye Grass

 Rebound Brome Grass

 Manska Pubescent Wheatgrass

 Timothy Grass

 Oahe Intermediate Wheatgrass

 Fairway Crested Wheatgrass

 Orchard Grass

 Mandan Pubescent Wheatgrass

 Hycrest Crested Wheatgrass

 Reed Canary Grass

 K31 Tall Fescue 

 Garrison Creeping Foxtail 

 Alkar Tall Wheatgrass

 Other tame grasses available!

Lawn Grasses

Kentucky Bluegrass

 Creeping Red Fescue 

 Perennial Rye Grass

 Green Acres Lawn Mix


 Other lawn grass mixtures available upon request!