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Saturday - December 13, 2008

From: Athens, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grasses for Van Zandt County, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We have approx'ly 200 acres in Van Zandt County, Texas between Edom & Ben Wheeler of which approx'ly half is pasture land and has been used for hay for the past several years. We would have converted to Wildlife Exemption from Ag Exemption and have been told to disc the pasture land and plant native grasses. What native grasses are indigenous to our East Texas area? The pasture land is sunny with rolling hills. The soil is sandy on top with a clay base. Also, when should we plant?


First of all, There are warm season grasses (WSG) and cool season grasses (CSG). WSG should be planted in late spring (March or April) and CSG can be planted in early spring (February or March), as well as late summer and early fall (September or October).

You certainly could plant the big four of prairie grasses, all WSG, and all of which have been recorded in or near Van Zandt County:

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), with more information

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), with more information

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), with more information

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass), with more information

Here are some other grasses that grow in our adjacent to Van Zandt County:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) and more information, grows in wet areas, WSG

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass) and more information, WSG

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) and more information, WSG and the state grass of Texas

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) and more information, CSG, grows well in the shade 

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) and more information, CSG

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass) and more information, WSG

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass) and more information, WSG

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens) and more information, WSG

The Native Prairies Association of Texas has an excellent page of instructions for planting prairie grasses.  The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation also has an excellent set of instructions for establishing native grasses.

Andropogon gerardii

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Andropogon glomeratus

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus virginicus

Eragrostis intermedia

Eragrostis spectabilis

Tridens flavus





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