Thinopyrum ponticum (Podp.) Z.-W. Liu & R.-C. Wang
Scientific Name Synonyms:
Agropyron elongatum (Host) Beauv.
Agropyron varnense (Velen.) Hayek
Elytrigia elongata (Host) Nevski
Elymus elongates (Host) Runemark
Elytrigia pontica (Podp.) Holub
Elymus varnensis (Velen.) Runemark
Lophopyrum elongatum (Host) A. Love
Life Span: Perennial
Growth Characteristics: Tall wheatgrass is a tall-growing, coarse-textured bunchgrass native to the Eastern Mediterranean Region, introduced from Russia in 1932. Clumps reach up to 6 feet and yield heavily with sufficient available moisture. Tall wheatgrass flowers during the last two weeks in July and ripens seed in September..
Seehead: The seedhead is an erect spike, 3-16 inches long, with solitary spikelets at each node of the rachis, 1/2 - 1/3 inch long. Spikelets have 5-18 florets that may be smooth or hairy. The glumes are thickened and hardened, oblong, conspicuously 5-7 nerved and blunt or occasionally sharp-tipped. Lemmas are thickened and hardened, oblong to lance-shaped, 5-nerved and typically smooth. The seed generally does not germinate as well.
Leaves: Leaf blades are flat to inrolled and typically rough or hairy. Ligules are short and hairlike. Sheaths are hairy on the lower margins.
Stems: Several leafy stems that are 3 to 7 feet tall.
Tall Wheatgrass is highly tolerant of saline and alkaline soils. It is adapted to irrigated or subirrigated areas and can survive weeks of flooding in the spring. It has been established on soils with a pH as high as 10.1 and will grow at elevations of 500 to 6,000 feet. It will grow and persist in areas receiving 10 - 16 inches of precipitation annually. It is winterhardy with good spring recovery.
Soils: Tall wheatgrass is especially tolerant of saline soils. It is adapted to irrigated or subirrigated saline soils and to imperfectly-drained, alkali soils. It prefers soils with a high water table. It can survive five weeks of flooding in the spring and can, therefore, be seeded on land that is wet for some time in spring.
Associated Species: Foxtail barley, Great Basin wildrye, sueda, and greasewood.
Uses and Management:
Tall wheatgrass is used in wildlife plantings where its tall, persistent, bunchy growth provides nesting sites and cover for upland gamebirds. In wildlife plantings interrupted drill strips, alternated with lower growing species, provide excellent cover and good hunting.
Tall wheatgrass, because of its late maturity, provides a long grazing period when used for pasture, but it is not as palatable as most other wheatgrasses or other pasture grasses. When planted in pure stands and fenced, tall wheatgrass is readily grazed by sheep or cattle, especially the coarse leaves, and cattle and sheep make excellent gains on it. It must be grazed to maintain the plants in the vegetative state.