En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 03, 2012

From: Dale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Yard grass that cows like to eat in Dale, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need to know of a good grass seed to plant in the yard that will also be eaten by our cows. Prefer one that doesn't have any type of stickers/cocker burrs.

ANSWER:

The very best grass I can recommend that will serve as a turf grass and feed for cattle is Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) [synonym=Buchloe dactyloides].  It grows to a maximum of 12 inches if it isn't mowed and, as a turf grass, requires mowing only a couple of times a year.  If your cows are going to be eating it, it won't ever require mowing.  Additionally, it is very drought tolerant.  We have a How-to Article, Native Lawns:  Buffalograss, that gives you information on how to establish buffalograss as a lawn.  Native American Seeds in Junction (one of our Associates) has a seed mix, Native Sun Turfgrass, that includes 80% buffalograss and 20% Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama), another short grass (3 to 6 inches) or you can buy buffalograss alone.  Both buffalograss and blue grama are highly nutritious and recommended for cattle feed.  Here is more information about buffalograss and blue grama from the USDA.

There are several taller native grasses that are also recommended for cattle.  Here is an article from the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Native Plants for Your Farm, that lists several species that are recommended for pastures.  These all are found in or adjacent to Caldwell County and none of them have stickers or burrs.

 Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem) grows 4 to 8 feet.

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye) reaches 2 to 4 feet.

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) reaches 2 to 4 feet.

Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass) grows 2 to 10 feet.

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) grows 3 to 8 feet.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) reaches 3 feet.

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama) grows 2 to 3 feet.

You might consider using a combination of some or all of these grasses for your pasture/yard.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Virginia wildrye
Elymus virginicus

Eastern gamagrass
Tripsacum dactyloides

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Erosion control in Santaquin UT
August 11, 2009 - I have a hill in my backyard; it is about 40 ft tall and about 80 ft wide. It is probably a 1.5 to 1 slope ratio. I am going to be landscaping my back yard and have top soil put on the hill as well. S...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mexican feathergrass in Austin
September 21, 2010 - All of my mexican feathergrass plants have died or gone dormant, laying down flat for the most part. Any idea what's going on with them?
view the full question and answer

Mixture of native grasses as opposed to buffalo grass monoculture
November 26, 2003 - My husband and I just built our home on Lake Travis. Our lot is very rocky and is on the side of a hill. We would like to plant something on the incline at the front of our home that doesn't need a l...
view the full question and answer

Drainage pond plantings from Mason MI
April 23, 2012 - We have a drainage pond in our back yard. It has a large muddy bank and some steep sides where erosion has started to take its toll. We are looking for some Michigan/Mid-Western native plants that w...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for hillside in N. Reading MA
July 29, 2010 - I am seeking a grass for a steep, sunny slope in the NE.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center