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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.) A. Löve
Synonyms: Agropyron smithii
USDA Symbol: pasm
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Western Wheatgrass is a 15-30 in., cool-season, sod-forming, perennial grass. Its dense, narrow, 3-6 in. spikes occur at the top of stout culms. The entire plant is often covered with a white coating, lending a silvery caste to its blue-green leaves. The leaves are less than a quarter inch wide and, when dry, roll up longitudinally to display prominent ridges on the tops.
This densely colonizing turf grass is commonly found in western North America in low-lying areas subject to seasonal poor drainage. During wet times, this grass becomes aggressive and can crowd out neighboring grasses and forbs. For this reason, and for its silvery blue-green leaves, Western Wheatgrass is favored for erosion control. It covers so thickly, however, that it is not the best choice for a wildflower meadow. It wont allow many other plants room.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun
AK , AR , AZ , CA , CO , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NH , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , SD , TN , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Ont. to B.C., s. to KY, TX, AZ & e. of the Cascades to n.e. CA Native Habitat:
Hillsides; bottomlands; canyons; open woods; prairies; scrubland. Often in swales and ditches with seasonal poor drainage. USDA Native Status: L48(N),
AK (I?), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, alkaline clay, loam, sand.
Conditions Comments: Thrives in seasonal poor drainage and high-rainfall years, when it can become aggressive enough to crowd out many other grasses and forbs.
BenefitUse Ornamental: A blue-green turf grass that can be mowed
Use Other: Widely used for erosion control
Root Division , Seeds Description:
Increase is easiest by rhizome
division. Seeds have poor germination. Seed Treatment:
A KNO3 enrichment enhances germination but is not necessary. Commercially Avail:
If gets too aggressive, reduce water.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Plants to stop erosion in Arizona
January 17, 2009
I'm looking for a plant to stop erosion; I have big wash outs that are starting to erode my yard so I guess I'm looking for deep rooting plants. I live south of Tucson, Arizona. If you can advise me...
view the full question and answer
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Record Modified: 2009-03-21
Research By: TWC Staff