Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly called little bluestem, is native to prairies, fields, clearings, hills, limestone glades, roadsides, waste areas and open woods from Alberta to Quebec south to Arizona and Florida.It was one of the dominant grasses of the vast tallgrass prairie region which once covered rich and fertile soils in many parts of central North America. Little bluestem, lovegrass and sideoats grama are usually in these seeding mixtures in addition to big bluestem and indiangrass. By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist. It It needs no nitrogen application the first year, but in subsequent years will benefit from a high nitrogen fertilizer application in spring. Tolerate of both alkaline and acid soils. Plants vary in height, color, length of leaves, flowering, and clump diameter It is truly an important plant for the e… Little bluestem is an upright grass that grows from 2 to 4 feet tall. The foliage of this North American prairie native turns striking copper-orange to dark orange-red in the fall and winter, persisting through winter snows. Explore {{searchView.params.phrase}} by color family {{familyColorButtonText(colorFamily.name)}} Building the urban forest for 2050. Densely mounded, Little Bluestem reaches … The Blues (Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'):  3 feet tall with an upright habit; blue foliage with red accents on stem; fall color is a mix of blue, purple and orange. The three variations of bluestem grass are big bluestem, little bluestem and sand bluestem. Prairie Munchkin (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie Munchkin'): 2 1/2 feet tall with a narrow, columnar habit; silvery blue foliage turns maroon and orange in fall. It is found in many types of soil but is particularly adapted to well-drained, nearly infertile soil which makes it an excellent erosion barrier. State Grass > Photo Gallery Little Bluestem Photo Gallery Gallery . Little bluestem grows in a wide range of soil types as long as they are not wet. Eradicating KR or Kleberg bluestem is difficult unless the grass was introduced only recently and in small amounts. Maryland Distribution: Dry areas with poor soil, sunny meadows, woodland edges.Throughout the state. It is a host plant for several native butterflies and is popular in the garden trade as well as restoration projects. Use up and down arrow keys to explore within a submenu. Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a Texas native which has moved from the pasture into the home landscape in recent years. As an ornamental it is a valued plant in borders, native gardens, and wildflower meadows. Height: 1.5-3 feet Blooms: Silky seeds emerge in fall Sun: Full sun Soil: Dry, poor soil of any texture Garden Use & Maintenance: Clumping, perennial warm season grass. Retains its upright form through winter, providing structure in the landscape and shelter for wildlife. Because of this broad distribution, little bluestem exhibits significant ecotypic variation. Schizachyrium is tough and adaptable, tolerant of a range of moisture conditions from average to nearly arid. It is a forage grass in native regions for wild grazers and other animals. It is a clumping grass. "This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.". Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. State grass of Kansas. No serious pests. This 3-foot-tall bunchgrass grows a foot in diameter. Read more articles about Little Bluestem Grass. The foliage provides excellent color all season-long and creates the perfect backgrop for prairie flowers. Use up and down arrow keys to explore within a submenu. Warm-season grass forage quality Forage quality measurements (protein, fiber, digestibility) of warm-season grasses have consistently been lower than measurements for cool-season grasses at the same growth stage. Little Bluestem can be planted for erosion control and will attract wildlife. It is prized for its small fluffy seed heads and good fall color. The grass’s fluffy seed heads are an added attraction to this colorful plant but they freely disperse in wind and, when disrupted, send floating seeds to all corners of the garden. Little Bluestem is a 2' to 4' tall native perennial warm season bunch grass. There are no serious pest or disease threats to little bluestem plants. In shortgrass prairies, it is often the dominant species along with Side-oats Grama. Deer graze on bluestem grass. Little Bluestem is a very important plant for pollinators in that it is a larval host to over a dozen of insects. Little Bluestem is a perennial, warm-season grass that may grow to 5 feet. Indian Skipper 4. Once established, it is a drought-resistant, easy-care clumping grass that is attractive at any season. Little Bluestem is an iconic warm season grass of the prairie habitat that is commonly used in both landscaping and restoration projects. Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menus and submenus. Little bluestem is a tough, easy-care ornamental grass that’s most beautiful in the fall when its tufts of slim, ¼-inch-wide blue-green leaves turn from rust to wine red and its thin 2- to 3-inch clusters of fuzzy flower spikelets glisten silvery-white in the sun. We do not seem to have this in our living collection. Get expert help from The Morton Arboretum Plant Clinic. You can search, browse, and learn more about the plants in our living collections by visiting our BRAHMS website. It grows well on deep, shallow, sandy, fine-textured or rocky soils in either uplands or lowlands. Little bluestem plant is a native grass to North America. It is a warm season grass that normally grows 1-3′ in height. This bunch grass also provides cover for small wildlife. General: Little bluestem is a tufted (sometimes with short rhizomes), warm-season (C 4), perennial grass broadly distributed and native to the U.S. and Canada. Go to list of cultivars. This is a warm season grass, so … Caterpillars of the following Skipper butterflies all feed on Little Bluestem Foliage; 1. The alternate leaves are 1/4 inch wide and 10 to 14 inches long. Good drought tolerance. Color, however, may vary. Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menus and submenus. Seeds are fuzzy and white at maturity and great value to small birds. May self seed, sometimes excessively. Schizachyrium scoparium (syn. A pretty grass, Little Bluestem is another iconic species of prairies that once covered much of Minnesota. The Blues is a magnificent cultivar, chosen for its steely blue summer and blazing fall color.It effortlessly delivers rugged charm with a tidy, erect habit. They establish quickly on disturbed soilsperfect for banks, slopes, and restorations. As its name suggests, this perennial has silvery-blue stems (particularly at the base) and leaves, making it … Schizachyrium scoparium (formerly Andropogon scoparius) Graminoid Grass Family. (They dry well, by the way.) stoloniferum creeping bluestem Legal Status. Read on for little bluestem information so you can decide if this interesting plant is right for your landscape. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - Little Bluestem grass seed easily grows to produce one of the most popular ornamental grasses on the market today, and it is widely used in landscaping. The light tan color of broomsedge is most noticeable compared to the dark red stems of little bluestem. Blaze (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blaze'):   2 to 3 feet tall with an upright form; blue-green foliage turns to red, mixed with pruple and orange; remains pinkish in winter. The photographs featured on the State Grass Initiative portion of the Kansas Native Plant Society website are available for educators to download and print for classroom use. Its color deepens to rusty mahogany in fall and the clumps persist through much of the winter unless crushed by snow. Interpreting Wetland Status. For a wonderful little workhorse in the landscape, get your hands on The Blues Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues'). Little Bluestem was originally the most abundant of all native grass. Tolerate of both alkaline and acid soils. Stop by, email, or call. Little Bluestem native grass is often used in wildflower plantings because it is short and mixes well with wildflowers for increased attraction. Since this grass remains attractive through winter, it should not be cut back until early spring, before new growth begins. A foundation species, Little Bluestem is absolutely beautiful in commercial & residential landscapes. In tallgrass prairies, companion grasses include Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, and Switch Grass. The flowers are wind pollinated. It is a prolific self-seeder and can become invasive with little bluestem in lawns a major competitor to traditional turf grass. It is adapted to a wide variety of soils and soil moisture and can withstand some shading. This is a warm season grass, so its most active growth occurs in summer. Foliage transitions into a kaleidoscope of copper, pink, and mahogany in fall. Fall color can also vary from orange to bronze to reddish. Browse the curated collection and add your voice! The Morton Arboretum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on the generosity of members and donors. Wetland Status. little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium var. Prairie Blues (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie Blues'): 3 feet tall with an upright habit; blue gray foliage turns red-orange in fall. The Grass Manual on the Web - Illustration (SCSC) The Grass Manual on the Web - Map (SCSC) Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! As an added bonus, songbirds and gamebirds enjoy the seeds and it provides cover for foraging wildlife. Our future. It is shorter than many prairie grasses, growing only 2 to 4 feet tall. It is a prolific self-seeder and can become invasive with little bluestem in lawns a major competitor to traditional turf grass. Its silvery seed heads rise to a height of nearly 2 feet in late summer and are at their best when backlit in the morning or afternoon sun. Tolerates nutrient-poor soils and requires little care. From top level menus, use escape to exit the menu. The only way to prevent this is to cut off the seed heads before they mature, but this reduces some of the visual appeal. We grow one species of Schizachyrium, the North American native Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly known as Little Bluestem. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.". Blue Heaven™ (Schizachyrium scoparium 'MinnBlueA'):  4 feet tall with an upright habit; steel blue leaves change to tones of burgundy, pink and orange in fall. The leaves are flat with slightly hairy bases and tend to roll up at maturity. Crossline Skipper 2. Seeds and plugs make growing little bluestem grass in the landscape easy and they are available where wild plants are sold. Dusted Skipper 3. Read on for little bluestem information so you can decide if this interesting plant is right for your landscape. Standing Ovation (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation'): 3 to 4 feet tall with an upright habit; blue foliage with purple tints; fall color is red-orange and burgundy. Use as an ornamental specimen, or for … It is a clumping grass. It tends to go dormant without moisture, so the best appearance is preserved with weekly watering, especially those plants in containers. Little bluestem grows in a wide range of soil types as long as they are not wet. A handsome, dwarf clumping grass with distinct blue-green blades highlighted pink by mid-summer. It is found in many types of soil but is particularly adapted to well-drained, nearly infertile soil which makes it an excellent erosion barrier. Little Bluestem is a highly ornamental native grass prized for its blue-green leaf color and upright form. It will remain standing in winter and can act as winter interest. Centipede Grass Maintenance And Planting Tips, Buffalo Grass Lawns: Information About The Care Of Buffalo Grass, Upright Boxwood Plants – Growing Fastigiata Boxwood Bushes, Growing Southern Conifers – Learn About Coniferous Trees In Southern States, Pacific Northwest Conifers – Choosing Coniferous Plants For Pacific Northwest, Scary Gardens: Help With Spooky Garden Designs, Satsuma Plum Care: Learn About Japanese Plum Growing, Can You Prune Cabbage: Information On Pruning Cabbage Leaves, Globe Thistle Care: How To Grow Globe Thistle Plants, Spruce Trees For Landscaping - Spruce It Up With Evergreens, Western Juniper Trees: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Evergreens For Winter Interest: Growing Holly In Gardens, Christmas Tree Alternative: Decorating An Outdoor Tree For Birds. Little bluestem plant is a native grass to North America. Big bluestem, or Andropogon gerardii, also is known as turkey foot, because the seed heads stick outward, resembling a turkey's foot. Look up bluestem grass in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), often more than 2 metres (6.5 feet) tall, is the characteristic plant species of the North American tallgrass prairie.It is sometimes known as turkeyfoot, in reference to its forked flower cluster, and is a good hay and pasture plant. Explore this online platform for Chicago-area residents to share their favorite stories about trees. It is perhaps best adapted to well-drained, dry, poor soils. The fall color is usually very good. Little bluestem is an upright grass that grows from 2 to 4 feet tall. It prefers warm regions where there are rocky outcrops or dry gritty soil but is also found as transition material between cultivated land and forest. Andropogon scoparius). Its roots, which grow 5-8 feet long, enable it to resist moderate drought conditions. Texas, … Sow the seed in spring or plant plugs for quicker establishment. It is a member of the grass family (Poaceae). This includes skipper butterflies and grasshoppers. Ottoe Skipper 5. Bluestem grass is a remarkably adaptable and attractive addition to the home landscape as long as you are aware of its invasive potential. Little bluestem is not to be confused with big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), which was the dominant species of the tall grass prairie. It is a bunch type, native, warm-season, perennial mid grass, with a dense root system, and may reach heights of from 2 to 4 feet tall. Foliage color can be varied, with some plants being more green and other more blue-green. Little Bluestem... Has been reported from every county in Kansas, Is found in a variety of locations (prairies, dry hills, open woods) and in a variety of soil types (deep, shallow, fine textured, rocky soils), Is a mid-grass that reaches 2 to 5 feet at maturity, It is able to grow on both acidic and alkaline soils. But almost everywhere that could be plowed has been plowed. (Schizachyrium scoparium) Little Bluestem once dominated our tall and short grass prairies from Canada to Mexico. This plant has some cultivated varieties. Natural Areas Conservation Training Program, Black walnut toxicity (plants tolerant of), Preventing construction damage to trees and shrubs, Trees and shrubs for the four seasons landscape, Sudden Oak Death, Ramorum Blight and Phytophthora ramorum, Eastern United States Wetlands Collection. Plant Care. The plant needs supplemental water in early establishment stages, but thereafter is quite self-sufficient except in severe drought. Use enter to activate. It is a perennial warm-season grass with pretty bluish-green color followed by rust colored fall foliage and fluffy white seed heads. use escape to move to top level menu parent. The small fruit (caryopsis or grains) form along the spikes that held the flowers. The fruit have a fluffy appearance due to white hairs. They also shine in meadows, prairi… Growing little bluestem grass in the landscape as an ornamental foliage plant provides a dimensional and architectural foil for broad leaved and flowering plants. Swarthy Skipper Additionally, various small songbirds eat the seed of Little Bluestem during the Fall/Winter. The seeds establish easily after spring rains wash them into the soil, which means the unwary gardener may find little bluestem in lawns and other areas where it is not wanted. At that time, it can be cut down to the ground. Within a submenu, use escape to move to top level menu parent. This attractive grass produces purplish plumes with grey/green foliage. Sign up for our newsletter. The leaves and stems frequently have a bluish cast in summer, while the fall color is a very warm copper that does not fade throughout winter. Right for your landscape reaches … little bluestem once dominated our tall and short grass prairies from Canada to.! 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