I Need a Grass Lesson

Discussion in 'Habitat Management' started by SwampCat, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:03 PM.

  1. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    IMG_1973.JPG And I dont mean the kind you smoke. I am slowly converting a little of my fescue pasture to native warm season grass. It takes a lot of time, effort, and expense to do it. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep it that way - and so far, it has proven to be unused by wildlife. But, I have some ground made for it, I like plants, I like the way it looks, I like the diversity - so I am going to try to keep a few acres. It has been a long time since my plant taxonomy classes - and I could key these species - but thought I would try the easy way first. Correct me on any of this if I am wrong.

    This first one is Eastern gamagrass. Unlike most of the native warm season grasses - it has a seed big enough for something to actually eat. The grass is very high in protien and it is a relative of corn.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017 at 12:20 PM
  2. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    IMG_1974.JPG This picture shows what I believe to be little bluestem on the right and bluestem broomsedge on the left. Between the two, they comprise most of my grasses.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017 at 12:20 PM

  3. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    IMG_1976.JPG IMG_1977.JPG The bottom is a picture of a large bladed grass with a blueish blade. Johnson grass on top for comparison. I have yet to identify any big bluestem on my place - hope this might be?
  4. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    IMG_1978.JPG No idea what this is. Unlike the other grasses which are actively growing just now, this grasses actually went to seed over a month ago.
  5. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    IMG_1972.JPG IMG_1979.JPG

    The top I believe to be Dallis Grass. The bottom pic is a blue green magnum version of dallis grass. Twice as tall, twice as big of seed heads. I also have no idea what it may be.

    This stuff sure is rousing, isnt it?:D
  6. y hunt

    y hunt Super Moderator Staff Member

    Looks a lot like my fields less the sweet gum, sumac, and one other brush
  7. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    I hurried the process by spraying and disking my fescue. But even the drier sections of my pasture where I did nothing are slowly reverting to native grass. The only thing that has been done in those areas is removal of livestock. I think it is going to get there - just take about twice as long to do it. One thing I have noticed, is since the cows have been removed, plant diversity has really declined - especially for some of the prairie flowers - the penstamons, cone flowers, iron weeds, lark spurs, etc. I believe the cows reduced the grass, which reduced the competition for some of the "flowers". Now, it is mostly grass.
  8. Saltydog

    Saltydog Well-Known Member

    The "flowers", or forbs, are what you want for quail I believe. A winter burn should help promote them. I'm no habitat expert.... but what you have sure looks a lot better than fescue!
    Keep up the good work.
  9. turkman

    turkman Well-Known Member

    SwampCat, if you want more forbs you can either burn(late winter/early spring) or spray clethodim(generic select).
  10. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    I have done my last burning in grass stands. My liability insurance policy wont cover all my neighbors houses. G&f and heritage commission folks came out to my place and said they would be back to burn. That was three years ago and I am still waiting. I am not going not going to kill my warm season grass - I worked long and hard to get it and spent a lot of money to do it. I will donate that land to the grass and give it up as viable wildlife habitat. I like the looks of it and the thought that it is native and I was able to bring it back. I will bush hog it every couple of years to keep the stand relatively pure. I know that is not as good as fire, but my tractor is not as likely to get away and tear my neighbor's house down.
  11. While nothing beats fire any kind of ground disturbance can be beneficial, especially for plant diversity. Bushhogging is okay but can allow one type of grass to dominate. All grazing is not bad unless overdone. Another option is to disc strips periodically for disturbance and regeneration, especially forbs, this could be alternated every other year. A good example of this is Camp Robinson natural area where they run field trials. They burn but also disc strips as well. Too thick and nothing uses it except deer for bedding areas. All that seed doesn't do any good if the ground feeding birds can't find them. JMO and could be entirely wrong for what you are looking for. I look at quail benefit first and foremost as I am selfish that way.
  12. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    While I dont anticipate any quail moving in, light disking to increase plant diversity would benefit rabbits, turkeys, deer, song birds - pretty much everything. I get about as excited when I see a rabbit on my place as I do a deer. I didnt see a rabbit for the first five years I owned this ground.
  13. John Stiles

    John Stiles Ultimate Member<br>2007 Team Turkey Contest Winner

    last pics Look like Bahia to me.
  14. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    No doubt in the bahia family. This grass is four feet tall and one of the seed heads is as big around as a pencil.
  15. Hobbshunter

    Hobbshunter Well-Known Member


    I tried to plant winter wheat here last year. Did the soil test and added the lime and fertilizer accordingly. Got on a lease at the last minute and haven't touched it since. I went out there to mow it down the other night, and I thought that for all my failings as a food plot farmer, I did ok at native grass restoration.
  16. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

    Yes you did. NWSG seed lays dormant in the seed bank for years. If you get rid of the competition, the bunch grasses will show up.