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Big bluestem (Andropagon gerardii)

Plant Characteristics: Perennial warm-season with a compressed leaf sheath, medium-size ligules, and rough leaf edges. Lower leaves covered with silky hair. Seed heads are characterized by twisted awns.

Establishment: Big bluestem could be adapted to the northwest part of the state. It is the most drought tolerant warm-season grass. Planting dates occur from March to May at a seeding rate of 5 to 10 lb/ac.

Fertilization: Adapted to sandy and sandy loam soils. Soil pH adaptation from 5.5 to 7.5. Big bluestem is highly responsive to nitrogen.

Grazing/Hay Management: It could be utilized for pasture or hay. Forage production occurs from May to September with yields ranging from 4 to 6 tons/ac. Close grazing is not recommended and rotational grazing will allow plants to recover quicker.

Forage Quality: Longer palatability and forage quality than switchgrass.

Varieties/Cultivars: n/a.

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