Flowers (A List)
Flowers (B List)
Cool Season Native Grasses
Canarygrass (3.5 lbs per acre)
Reed canarygrass is a tall, coarse, strongly rhizomatous, sod-forming grass found on wet or imperfectly drained soils and used under irrigation. It produces high forage yields. Tolerance to saline-alkali soils is low. It can withstand long periods of early spring flooding. High alkaloid content reduces palatability when grazed but is not a problem in hay. This species can be invasive on wet sites. Chiefton, Marathon, Palaton and Venture are low-alkaloid-content varieties and are recommended for grazing. Rise and Vantage have moderate alkaloid levels compared with older varieties.
Junegrass (1 lb per acre)
Prairie junegrass is a short-lived, drought-tolerant, fibrous-rooted bunchgrass growing in small tufts. Condensed panicle seed heads open during flowering and become plumelike. They contract back to a narrow spike shape after flowering. Prairie junegrass is common in mixed-grass and shortgrass prairies on well-drained open and rocky sites. It is considered good forage in early spring. It is an important range plant, although plants usually are scattered and seldom abundant in solid stands. Because of the fine leaves and drought tolerance, selections are being made for use as a low-maintenance ground cover. Seed from northern sources is available.
Needlegrass (6 to 7.5 lbs per acre)
Green needlegrass is an early maturing, drought-tolerant bunchgrass adapted to a wide range of soils. It is nutritious and palatable forage. Seeds have curved awns about 1 inch long. They are not so sharply pointed as to pose a problem for grazing animals. Seed harvested from native stands has a high level of dormancy. It is widely used in rangeland seeding.
The variety Lodorm was released because of less seed dormancy after harvest compared with native seed.
Slender Wheatgrass (5 to 5.5 lbs per acre)
Slender wheatgrass is a short-lived, cool-season bunchgrass. It primarily is used in seed mixtures of introduced and native grasses due to its excellent seedling vigor, ease of establishment and fast growth. Plants lose vigor and decline in abundance within three to four years. Slender wheatgrass in mixtures improves stand productivity, especially during the first production year, until other grasses become better established. The percent of a mixture generally should be kept at 10 percent or less because of its competitive ability. It possesses a high tolerance to saline-alkali soils.
Thickspike/streambank (7 lbs per acre)
Thickspike wheatgrass, called northern wheatgrass in Canada, is a strongly rhizomatous, sod-forming grass found on rough, broken buttes and, to a limited extent, sagebrush flats in native grasslands. It is similar to western wheatgrass but is more drought-tolerant. This species has been used extensively for revegetation of disturbed areas, roadsides, runways for small airplanes and other critical areas that receive little or no maintenance. Stem and leaf rust may be a problem on some sites and in the eastern half of North Dakota. Authorities recognize thickspike and streambank as the same species.
Western Wheatgrass (8 to 10 lbs per acre)
Western wheatgrass, North Dakota’s state grass, is a long-lived, drought-resistant, sod-forming grass found throughout the state, especially on medium- to fine-textured soils. It is known to spread aggressively on clay sites. Western wheatgrass has a high level of tolerance to saline-alkali soils and can withstand periodic flooding. Stands are slow to develop from seed. It is widely used in seed mixtures for rangeland seeding, revegetation of saline-alkali areas and in critical-area planting for erosion control. It is palatable and nutritious.Rodan is similar to the variety Rosana in adaptation but is more productive on coarse-textured soils and areas of higher rainfall. Walsh is adapted to fine-textured, moderately saline-alkaline soils.
Canada Wildrye (6.5 to 7.5 lbs per acre)
Canada wildrye is a short-lived bunchgrass with large, coarse leaves, excellent seedling vigor and fair palatability if grazed or hayed before heading. It often is used as an early successional component of prairie mixes. It is used for the establishment of quick cover on light- and medium-textured soils. It tolerates moderate salinity and is shade-tolerant. The nodding, awned seed heads of Canada wildrye are showy, and the grass often is used for decorative and landscape plantings. The sharp bristlelike awn can become embedded in the skin of animals and cause problems.
Visit our Seed Resources Page for more information on Cool Season Grasses for the Northern Plains.
Warm Season Native Grasses
Big Bluestem (6 to 7.5 lbs per acre)
Big bluestem is a dominant species of the tall-grass prairie and on good moisture sites westward. Plants are often more than 6 feet tall, with short, scaly rhizomes. Seed stalks produce three- to six-fingered “turkey foot” spikes. Leaves are numerous with coarse hairs. The forage is highly palatable and nutritious before it matures. It provides excellent quantity and quality summer pasture and hayland. Stands will thin if pastures are closely grazed. It frequently is seeded for prairie restoration.
Little Bluestem (4 to 4.5 lbs per acre)
Little bluestem is a drought-tolerant bunchgrass of the mixed-grass prairie. It is seldom more than 3 feet tall. It often is found on dry hillsides in natural settings. Palatability decreases rapidly after heading. It often is included as a minor component of rangeland seed mixtures and is well-adapted to limey soils of both wet and dry sites. This species also performs well on the coarse, shallow soils of droughty uplands. Little bluestem turns reddish on maturity, with fuzzy, white seed heads. It is gaining popularity as an ornamental plant for dry landscapes.
Buffalograss (23 to 26 lbs per acre)
Buffalograss is a short, stoloniferous, dense, sod-forming grass. It is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. Reproduction is from seed as well as above-ground stems called stolons. Buffalograss is palatable and nutritious as forage, but it primarily is used as a low-maintenance turfgrass for lawns, golf courses and dryland landscaping. It mixes well with blue grama. Varieties of southern origin (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas) lack winter hardiness in North Dakota.
Prairie Cordgrass (7 lbs per acre)
Prairie cordgrass is a tall, coarse grass with strongly spreading, tough, scaly rhizomes. This species occupies wet soils and may grow in pure stands bordering sloughs, ditches and wet prairies. It may be grazed by cattle in late spring; however, prairie cordgrass seldom is utilized after the boot stage. The primary use is wildlife cover, lakeshore restoration, streambank stabilization and buffer strips. Plants can be established from rhizomes or seed. The species is moderately tolerant to salinity. Stands establish slowly from seed because of seed dormancy and low seedling vigor. Germination may extend across many months. Plants started from rhizomes are more saline-tolerant and generally produce seed heads the first year.
Blue Grama (2 to 2.5 lbs per acre)
Blue grama is a short, drought-tolerant, tufted grass that spreads from basal tillers. It is found in the mixed-grass prairie and short-grass plains. Seed heads are comblike. It is widely distributed on medium- to fine-textured soils throughout the state. Although limited in forage production, its fine leaves are nutritious and highly palatable. Its primary use is in rangeland seed mixtures, low-maintenance turf areas and roadsides. A planting depth of ¼ inch or less is critical for successful establishment. Its unique seed head makes it desirable as an ornamental. It sometimes is called mosquito grass in the nursery trade.
Bad River is darker green and establishes more readily than common seed and most other varieties of blue grama. Seed quality is better for Bad River compared with common seed.
Sideoats Grama (6 to 7.5 lbs per acre)
Sideoats grama is a drought-tolerant bunchgrass that spreads from short rhizomes. Seed spikes hang from the seed stalk along one side. Leaves have stiff hairs along the margins. It is found primarily on poorly developed shallow soils, steep slopes and ridge tops, as well as overflow sites. Its primary use is in grass mixtures for rangeland seeding. Its excellent seedling vigor allows rapid establishment. In the commercial seed trade, the seed unit is a “clump” of many spikelets or seeds. Depending on the seeding rate, these clumps may plug seed cups and seed tubes in drills. Clumps can be broken apart by hammer milling. Sideoats grama is a highly palatable forage species. Leaves turn brown/yellow and curl with maturity. The unique seed head makes it popular as a low-water-use landscape plant.
Indiangrass (5.5 to 7 lbs per acre)
Indiangrass is a tall grass made bunchy by short rhizomes. It is found primarily in the tall-grass prairie of southeastern North Dakota and to a limited extent on overflow and subirrigated sites in the mixed-grass prairie. It is associated with big bluestem and switchgrass. Its primary use is wildlife habitat and as a component of native range and prairie restoration mixtures. It is highly nutritious and makes excellent hay. Its forage yield and persistence is less than big bluestem in the northern Plains. It is an attractive ornamental plant, and landscaping varieties are being developed.
Prairie Sandreed (4 to 5 lbs per acre)
Prairie sandreed is a drought-tolerant, strongly rhizomatous, sod-forming grass. The leaves are light green with a leathery texture; stems are coarse. It has good productivity on coarse-textured soils. Prairie sandreed is excellent for stabilization of sandy soils. Early growth is nutritious, but the forage value is poor after the plants head out due to high fiber and lignin content. However, once exposed to a killing frost, lignin is reduced and palatability improves. Leaf and stem rust may be a problem in wet years or in higher-rainfall areas.
Switchgrass (3.5 to 4.5 lbs per acre)
Switchgrass is a tall, rhizomatous grass often growing in large clumps. It is found primarily in the tall-grass prairie of southeastern North Dakota and on good moisture sites westward. It is used in wildlife habitat plantings and for summer pasture. The forage yield is excellent, but quality is only fair and not as good as big bluestem. Switchgrass is reported to be toxic to horses, sheep and goats when grazed in pure stands. The toxicity can cause photosensitivity and affect internal organs and liver function. No problems have been reported for cattle. The seed is small and must be planted no deeper than ¼ inch into a firm seedbed. The showy, open panicle seed head adds to the interest in switchgrass as an ornamental. Forestburg and Sunburst, of South Dakota origin, are similar in maturity, appearance and productivity. Dacotah is a shorter upland type of North Dakota origin. It is two to three weeks earlier maturing than Forestburg. Varieties are being developed as bioenergy crops.
Visit our Seed Resources Page for more information on Warm Season Grasses for the Northern Plains.
Chesaks Native Pasture Mix
35% Big Bluestem
Chesaks Native Mix
10% Green Needlegrass
10% Slender Wheatgrass
10% Canada Wildrye
10% Big Bluestem
10% Little Bluestem
10% Blue Grama
10% Sideoats grama