Blue Grama

(Bouteloua gracilis)

Blue Grama is a long-lived, warm season grass found throughout the western Great Plains and the southwest. It is densely tufted and commonly grows from 15 to 61 cm (6 to 24 in.) tall with gray-green, basal leaves. It thrives in medium to fine-textured soils. It has a bunchgrass from, but can be sod-like at higher elevations or when closely grazed. Highly palatable all year long, Blue Grama is rated as the choice forage for all classes of livestock. It cures well as hay for winter use.

For better seedling establishment, seed sources (harvests) within 400 km (250 mi.) south and 240 km (150 mi.) north, east or west of the planting site are recommended. Seed should be planted with grass drills 0.6 to 1.3 cm (¼ to ½ in.) deep or broadcast and covered with soil to similar depths. Suitable planting dates are April to mid-May in the central Great Plains, slightly earlier in the southern Great Plains and June 15 to July 15 in the Southwest. The time of year for seeding depends upon local rainfall patterns. Timely irrigation or rainfall is essential to seedling establishment.

Blue Grama shows promise in the southwest as a lawn grass. It requires less maintenance and water than many varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue, but it is less wear resistant to foot traffic, especially during dormant periods.

 

SEEDING RATE:

PASTURE

1.1 to 1.7 kg PLS/hectare
1 to 1.5 lbs. PLS/acre

LAWN

1.4 to 1.8 kg PLS/93 sq. m
3 to 4 lbs. PLS/1000 sq. ft.

 

NUMBER OF SEEDS:

  712,000 per lb. (0.46 kg)

 

 

VARIETIES:

Hachita

Hachita is recommended for use in New Mexico, southern Colorado, and the panhandle areas of Texas and Oklahoma. It was released in 1980 by the Agricultural Science Centers of New Mexico State University, Colorado State University and the USDA Soil Conservation Service. The original seed was collected in the extreme southwest corner of New Mexico, 52 km (32 mi.) south of Hachita. In tests at Los Lunas, New Mexico, seed and forage production equaled or excelled that of Lovington Blue Grama. Under drought conditions, Hachita shows better establishment than other Blue Grama tested.

 



Lovington

Lovington is recommended for use in areas of eastern New Mexico and southeastern Colorado where annual precipitation is 30.5 cm (12 in.) or more. This variety was developed and released in 1963 by the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center and the USDA Soil Conservation Service. The original seed was collected near Lovington, New Mexico. It displays excellent seedling vigor under range conditions as well as under irrigation. Seed production, under cultivation has averaged up to 222 kg PLS/hectare (200 lbs. PLS/acre).


 


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