Forage Grasses

Native Grasses for Texas

One may be surprised to learn that bermudagrass and bahiagrass are NOT native to Texas much less to the United States. There are numerous species of grasses and forbs that can be utilized for forage throughout the state of Texas. Keep in mind as we select forages we need to be mindful of our production system goals, location (soil type and rainfall), and the nutrient needs of our livestock (and/or wildlife).

Indiangrass and Little bluestem. Photo courtesy of Jack LeClair

Many livestock producers are considering forage species and varieties that do not require as much fertilizer as bermudagrass. At the same time, many landowners have expressed interest in restoring native prairies for wildlife habitat enhancement. Native grasses are well adapted and quite persistent with good grazing management, but typically are not used for hay production. Natives grasses may require longer time to establish and are less tolerant of overstocking. If interested, check with your local county extension agentNRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) personnel, or Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist to determine which species are best adapted to your location.

 

Some native grass species:

Little bluestem

Indiangrass

Eastern gamagrass

Switchgrass

Sideoats grama

Big bluestem

 

Some native forb species:

Maximillian sunflower

Engelmann daisy

Illinois bundleflower

Bush sunflower

 

Dr. Megan Clayton, Associate Professor and Extension Range Specialist, has some excellent resources that can help guide the decision making process on the utilization of native forages.

Deciding What to Plant

 

Vanessa Corriher-Olson

Forage Extension Specialist

Soil & Crop Sciences

Overton, TX

vacorriher@ag.tamu.edu

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Texas A&M University System

 

Gary Pastuchok, Williamson County Agriculture Agent

100 Wilco Way, Georgetown Texas

512-943-3300

Native and Introduced Grasses, Identification and Value

 

Comments are closed.