This grass is a warm-season grass that grows well in arid regions. The plant was previously common across the grasslands of North America. Planting this grass has become a major aspect of erosion management on overgrazed or farmed land. It then serves as a haven and fodder for wildlife. In the home landscape, big bluestem grass can enhance a native flower garden or border an open property line.
The grass has a solid stem, distinguishing it from most grass species with hollow stems. It is a rhizomatous perennial grass that spreads via seeds and rhizomes.
At the plant's base, the stems are flat and bluish in hue. From July to October, the grass has 3 to 6 feet tall inflorescences that develop into three-part seed heads resembling turkey feet. When the clumping grass dies back in the fall, it takes on a reddish tint until it begins to grow again in the spring.
It is a beautiful bunchgrass with fine-textured foliage that grows in density of mounds 18-24 inches tall. Slender blue-green stems reach 3 feet by September and turn a brilliant mahogany-red in the fall, with white, gleaming seed tufts. Color lasts almost the entire winter.
The long hairs around the leaf base can also be used to identify big bluestem grass on young leaves. Indiangrass is a warm-season bunchgrass that grows 4-7 feet tall and has an elegant, fountain-like form.
The "rifle-sight" where the leaf blade attaches to the stem is a defining feature of this grass.
This plant is native to the eastern 2/3 of the US. It is a warm-season grass, meaning it grows actively during the summer when soil temperatures are high, and it is found from the mid-western short grass prairies to the coastal plain. It is a large plant that can grow over six feet tall in typical settings.
This grass can withstand tough circumstances and may be found in both damp and dry open areas. They flourish in warm weather with a reasonable quantity of rain. It is quite adaptable to a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay, as long as they are well-drained. This plant turns brown and inactive during the harsh winters.
The flowers of little bluestem are purplish-bronze. Because the blooms are wind-pollinated, they do not require an insect to pollinate them. Flowers that have been pollinated will yield seeds with fluffy white "beards." During the winter, the seeds will frequently remain attached to the stalks.
Purpose of The Big Bluestem Grass on The Ecosystem
These plants have a variety of applications, including grazing by large cattle, landscaping, and erosion management. This grass provides maximum environmental protection throughout the summer, but it also serves as a protective cover during the winter because of its resistance to snow flattening.
This plant also attracts butterflies and songbirds to your garden while providing architectural height, gorgeous leaves, and winter interest. At least 24 species of songbirds rely on big bluestem for cover. This plant, native from Canada to Mexico, has been dubbed the "Prince of the Tallgrass Prairie."