Native warm-season grasses grow in bunches or tufts during the warm summer months of the year.
Why Convert to Native Warm Season Grasses?
The quick answer is for the benefit of wildlife, livestock, and grazers.
How do Native Warm Season Grasses Compare to Cool Season Grasses?
Their shape leaves more bare ground under and between individual plants than do cool-season grasses. This allows for a greater number of broadleaf forbs (wildflowers), legumes and insects, which provide food for wildlife.
1. They Improve Wildlife Habitat
Native warm-season grasses provide superior habitat for several species of wildlife, especially quail and rabbit. Fescue and cool-season grasses management have led to the destruction of large amounts of wildlife habitat. Fortunately, habitat can be restored by planting native warm-season grasses and properly managing it with grazing, haying and burning.
2. They Are Productive in Summer
Warm-season grasses provide high quality forage during hot summer months when cool-season grasses do not. Planting warm-season grasses prevents the need to purchase hay during summer months and drought conditions. Grazing trials have demonstrated that cattle gain significantly more on warm-season grasses in the summer than on cool-season grasses. Production trials have shown that the tons per acre achieved on warm-season grasses are comparable to cool-season grasses.
3. They Provide More Cover During the Winter
Winter management generally involves leaving tall stubble that provides considerably more cover than typically grazed cool-season grasses.