Thank you to my loyal reader who reminded me it is summer and “Plant of the Week” should include some grasses.
Here is the first 2014 “Plant of the Week”. I boycotted anything house remodeling related this week and got outside to take some grass pictures.
Prairie Junegrass is a bunchgrass, which means it only reproduces through seeds. And it grows in a bunch.
True to its name, Prairie Junegrass puts up seedheads in June. These seedhead are pollinating, so they are bushy and yellow. Once pollination is over, the seedheads will close up and turn a brownish-tan color.
This is a very hard plant for me to identify if there is not a seedhead. The leaves are shorter, fleshy, and deeply veined. No ligules or auricles or special color.
Prairie junegrass is tasty to cattle, so if a pasture is overgrazed you won’t see this plant, or at least just the leaves.
There are just a few cool-season grasses that cattle LOVE in the Sandhills. They prefer to eat them before the seedhead comes out, when it is just leaves. Prairie junegrass is one of them. Needleandthread and western wheatgrass are the others.
Cool-season grasses like to grow during Warm Days and Cool Nights. They also like water and need good spring rains (and previous fall rains) to take off. We have had all three, so the junegrass is looking good this year.Prairie junegrass is a short grass. Only knee high to a toddler.