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

Plants for steep embankment on the Missouri River in Nebraska
July 01, 2009 - Hi, My embankment along the Northeast Nebraska shoreline of the Missouri River is eroding the land away. Do you have any suggestions for seed I could throw over the side of the bank that would grow...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a tall ornamental grass native to Massachusetts.
July 23, 2009 - I am looking for a tall (4-8 ft) ornamental grass, native to Massachusetts/ New England. It needs to be tolerant of moist to wet soil, and preferably colorful. Thanks for your help.
view the full question and answer

Salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas
September 16, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions for salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Full list of grasses for Connecticut from New York City
January 28, 2012 - Sorry, this is a followup to the native Connecticut grass query I sent half an hour ago. I see that it was asking for 'recommended species' that I ended up with such a short list of grasses (3). Th...
view the full question and answer

Looking for native plants for a rain garden in Arlington, TX.
March 12, 2012 - I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center