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Indiangrass Native Grass


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Indiangrass Uses and Planting Information

Native Grass Indiangrass

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans L.) is a native grass that at one time grew throughout the the central and eastern USA prairies. Indian Grass is a warm-season, perennial tall grass that once dominated these prairies. It reaches 3 to 5 feet in height.

Adaptation: Indian grass may be grown from the Northeast across to South Dakota and down to Texas, it is well adapted to these areas. Indian Grass is adapted to coarse, fine and medium textured soils, although it grows best in deep, well-drained floodplain soils. Indian grass is very tolerant of poor to excessive well-drained soils, has a wide tolerance for acidic to alkaline soils (6.0-7.8) and tolerates soil textures ranging from sand to clay.

Uses For Indiangrass

  • Erosion Control - Indiangrass can be used for critical area seeding, roadside cover, and areas subject to erosion by wind

  • Livestock - Indiangrass is a high palatable forage grass and can be used singly or in mixtures on ranges or pasture land and for hay production

  • Wildlife - Indiangrass provides an excellent wildlife habitat and forage food for deer

  • Ornamental - May be used as a border grass or in flower gardens as an ornamental grass.  Indian grass may also be used with wildflowers for a meadow look.

Planting Indiangrass

Establishment: Plant From early May to late June (after soil temperatures reach 50° F)
Seeding Rate:  Use 6 to 8 lbs/acre if drilled for solid stands; If broadcasted seeding rate should be 12-15lbs/acre
Depth: 1/4 inch

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Indiangrass Management Notes For Pastures (From USDA)

Fertilization to moderate levels of phosphorus and potassium are recommended for establishment. Nitrogen applications are not recommended until the grass is established and well above the competing weeds. Fertilizer may be applied late in the first summer of establishment at a rate of 20 to 40 pounds per acre of phosphorus and potassium or in the early summer of the second year at 40 to 80 pounds per acre rate. In future years fertilize as needed to enhance vigor and production of forage. For critical area seedings, no additional fertilization is necessary.

If well-established stands of indiangrass are properly managed and maintained, they should not require replanting. Poor stands can be rejuvenated by using proper management practices, such as controlled grazing, the application of recommended rates of herbicides and fertilizer, and prescribed burning, where permitted, before the beginning of spring growth. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer should be applied according to soil tests.

In rotational grazing systems, remove no more than ˝ the above ground growth (no shorter than 8 to 12 inches). With care, the stand will last indefinitely. Forage quality will remain high until the seed head emerges. Grazing should begin from mid to late June when grasses reach 12 to 16 inches in height. Overgrazing can damage the stand and should be stopped when the plants are grazed to within 6 inches of the ground. If regrowth of more than 12 inches takes place, the plants can be regrazed to 6 to 12 inches. Leaving this much stubble before frost allows the plants to store carbohydrates and ensures the production of vigorous plant growth in the spring.

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