airoides (Torr.) Torr.
robust bunchgrass, often with stems bent outward (decumbent) at
the base; forms large, tough clumps 1 ½ to 3 feet tall; coarse,
glossy roots, and culms which appear to be solid, especially near
the base. Reproduction is by seeds and by tillers. Starts growth
early in mid-spring, flowers June until frost.
pyramidal panicle-type inflorescence 4 to 16 inches long; spikelets
are very small, containing one floret; seeds look like grains of
brown sugar, and shatter from lemma and palea.
are long and stiff, especially when dry, and tapered to a long,
often rolled point; midrib is prominent; sheath often fringed on
the margins; hairy inside and near margin on outside of collar;
ligules are fringes of short hairs; auricles absent.
Sacaton is native to Utah and is usually found at elevations between
4200 and 6200 feet in the lowlands, floodplains, and in the drier
areas such as desert valleys. Does best in areas with 12 to 18 inches
of annual precipitation or equivalent in run-in water. It is common
in the stream channels with alkaline soils. It withstands flooding
and considerable soil deposition, and may occur in nearly pure stands.
Soils: Alkaline or saline soils in
meadows and valleys, or sandy soils of desert foothills or roadsides,
and dry and gravelly slopes. It is most abundant on moderately moist
alkaline soils of bottomlands where other species are not adapted.
Also abundant in areas where there are accumulations of run-in water
at intervals during the growing season.
wheatgrass, squirreltail, rabbitbrush,
saltbushes, saltgrass, and greasewood.
sacaton is an excellent grass for erosion control. It is fair to
good forage for cattle and horse, poor for sheep and wildlife while
actively growing, poor for all animals when dry, makes fair hay
when cut during or before flowering.
Management should provide for grazing no more than 50 percent of
the top growth during rapid growth and seed formation stage. It
has a favorable influence on watersheds but requires good management.