Bouteloua gracilis, more commonly referred to as “blue grama”, is a popular warm-season perennial grass. As the widest distributed of all grama grasses, it can be found throughout the Midwest and Plains region, as well as states like California, Florida, and Maine.
Despite the name, it is typically green, turning gold towards the end of the year. Additionally, it bears distinct comb-like floral spikes that can range from green to a reddish-purple. When fully grown, blue grama typically only grows 12-14 inches tall, though it can sometimes reach heights of two feet.
Once established, blue grama is resistant to cold temperatures and drought. Thanks to its prevalence and low maintenance, it’s commonly used in rough areas on golf courses. It’s also highly palatable to wildlife, making it a popular choice among foragers.
Blue grama is the state grass of both Colorado and New Mexico. The Zuni people of New Mexico and Arizona use its bristly leaves for hairbrushes and brooms.
Blue Grama in CRP
Due to its prevalence, drought resistance, erosion control, and wildlife benefits, blue grama is a popular choice for CRP contract holders. If grazing is a part of your CPO, then blue grama is a great option year-round. It grows well in soil from sandy to claylike textures.
When first establishing blue grama, it does need consistent moisture to thrive. Once it’s in place, however, it can thrive in hot and dry environments. Though it is drought resistant, it is not tolerant of frequent flooding.
If grazing is a part of your CPO, then blue grama is a great option as well. In addition to providing quality nutrition to animals, the plant is resistant to grazing. It also provides great forage for native wildlife.
Blue grama is best planted either April to mid-May in the central Great Plains area and June 15 to July 15 in the southwestern US. Weeds can be controlled through mowing, controlled grazing, or herbicide application.
Looking to buy CRP seed mixes with blue grama? We can help. At All Native Seed, we provide a variety of quality CRP seed mixes. Whether you purchase one of our in-house seed mixes, or you need a quote on a mix developed by NRCS, you can trust that you’re getting the best CRP seed available. All of our seed has been reprocessed for enhanced purity and tested for noxious weeds such as pigweed.
Alternatively, our parent company FDCE can help with the selection, purchase, and establishment process. FDCE provides full-service CRP solutions that take care of the entire process including reporting submission for cost-share reimbursement. Click here to visit their website and learn more.