Big Bluestem

(Andropogon gerardi)

Big Bluestem is a vigorous, tall, perennial, native bunchgrass with rhizomatous characteristics. It is widely adapted throughout most of the United States. Its major area of distribution is in the tallgrass prairie in the Central States and the Eastern edge of the Great Plains. The grass grows well on most soil types but performs best on moist, fertile, loamy type soils.  

Big Bluestem

General Characteristics

Growth Type:Bunch
Life Span:Perennial
Growing Season:Warm Season
Plant Height:4-6 feet
Cold Tolerance:Good
Drought Tolerance:Good
Salt Tolerance:Poor
Soil Type:Loam - Clay
Minimum Rainfall:25 inches
Planting Rate:6-8 pls
Planting Date:Dec. - June
Seed Type:Chaffy
Wildlife Habitat
Erosion Control

Growth begins late in the spring and continues through the summer. Plants usually grow 3-6 feet tall with adequate moisture. The leaf blades are around 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide and approximately 12 inches long. The extensive root system penetrates deeply into the soil, which contributes to its persistence and drought tolerance. 

The forage provides excellent grazing and/or hay for livestock and provides adequate cover for wildlife populations. Big bluestem has great potential for erosion control and soil stabilization. It is best planted in range mixes for revegetation of rangeland or abandoned cultivated land. Seedings should be made on a well-prepared, firm seedbed free from weeds. A seeding rate of 6-8 pls pounds per acre in pure stands and 1-3 pls per acre in a range seed mixture.

Sand bluestem
Big Bluestem