Native Herbaceous Perennial – Used for erosion control in sand and gravel pits, mine spoils and roadsides; contributes to diversified biomass production; a high-quality livestock forage; provides food and cover for wildlife.
Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii, is one of the more predominant species in the North American tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Native to North America, this perennial, warm season grass is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and moisture levels. Big Bluestem produces a significant amount of biomass and is gaining attention as a potential feedstock for alternative fuels and fiber, including pellets and cellulosic ethanol. When managed for biomass pellet feedstock or other applications requiring dry matter, Big Bluestem should be mowed in the fall to minimize dry matter loss, as it has little ability to stand over the winter in many areas. Some research has shown Big Bluestem to consistently have lower ash than other dedicated energy crops.
Habitat – Open fields and meadows; pH 6.0-7.5
Characteristics – A warm season, bunch grass; grows from 5’-8’ tall; 20” minimum root depth; full sun; high drought tolerance; moderate salt tolerance; yellow seed heads; blue nodes; leafy foliage turns to colorful hues of brown in winter
Seeding Rate – 8-10 PLS lb per acre alone; 5%-50% of a mix; approx. 144,000 seeds per lb