Sandberg Bluegrass

Sandberg Bluegrass, courtesy of Gary A. Monroe @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

© Gary. A. Monroe, courtesy of Gary Monroe @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. http://plants.usda.gov/

Common Name(s):

Sandberg bluegrass

Scientific Name:

Poa secunda J. Presl

Scientific Name Synonyms:

Poa sandbergii

Symbol:

POSE

Description:

Life Span: Perennial

Origin:Native

Season: Cool

Growth Characteristics: An erect, perennial bunchgrass, growing in small tufts, without rhizomes, commonly not over 12 inches tall. It is one of the first plants to start growth in early spring. Seeds mature in early summer. It produces from seeds and tillers. With adequate moisture, it will remain green throughout the summer.

Seedhead:Narrow panicle, up to four inches long, with ascending panicle branches in whorls of 2 to 3; spikelets contain 2 to 4 florets, often purplish before maturity; lemmas awnless, not cobwebby-hairy at base.

Leaves: Mostly basal, glabrous, blades numerous, fine, 1 to 3 inches long, mostly rolled, with boat-shaped tips; leaves rolled in bud; ligules prominent, membranous, about 1/8 inch long, tapering to the tip; auricles absent.

Ecological Adaptations:

This small native bunchgrass is among Utah's most widely adapted bluegrasses. It occurs mainly on semi-desert sites, but is also found on some upland and mountain sites, growing at elevations from 4500 feet up to 9000 feet and in rainfall belts varying from 6 inches up to 23 inches annually. It is drought tolerant.

Soils: It occurs on deep, silt loam to sandy soils, but mostly on the soils of medium texture. It is adapted to a very wide variety of soils.

Associated Species: Big sagebrush, fourwing saltbush, bluebunch wheatgrass, western wheatgrass, and needle-and-thread.

Uses and Management:

It provides good forage for cattle and fair for sheep, deer, and pronghorn in spring and early summer. Although the quality of the forage is good, the total yield of forage is very low compared to such plants as bluebunch wheatgrass. It provides some erosion control. It does have the disadvantage of drying up and affording little protection for the soil surface after late springtime.

Where it is a satisfactory plant for grazing use, and where seeding of more productive species is not practical, it can be kept most vigorous and productive if early spring grazing removes no more than about 40 percent of the top growth. It will stand 50 to 60 percent utilization during the early summer.