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

Bunch grasses for labyrinth that are good for livestock
September 29, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm designing an outdoor labyrinth that will be in full sun in our black Slidell clay soil here in north central Texas. The area MAY be mowed for hay at a later date (i.e...
view the full question and answer

Native xeric grasses for Colorado
June 24, 2010 - Tired of mowing - replacing western exposure full sun lawn with native xeric grass. Please explain the pros and cons of Bouteloua Gracilis (Blue Grama) and Bouteloua Dactyloides Bella (Bella Blue Gra...
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Native plants both deer resistant and good for erosion from North Oaks MN
August 23, 2012 - We have several partially sunny areas on hills that are prone to both deer and erosion. Our goal is to reduce runoff in an effort to preserve the watershed that provides tap water to many citizens of ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bermudagrass in meadow in Allen TX
August 17, 2011 - What is the effect of not killing or removing bermuda grass when converting an area to a prairie meadow in Allen, Texas? Most articles describing how to create and establish a prairie meadow suggest ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center