Pseudoroegneria Spicata: Bluebunch Wheatgrass Information and Care

Bluebunch Wheatgrass is a drought-tolerant perennial. Why should you consider it and how to grow it?

Bluebunch wheatgrass grows in the northern great plains, the northern Rocky Mountains, and the intermountain regions of the western United States. In this article, we’ll explore this unique grass and how best to care for it if you add it to your garden. 

General Information

Bluebunch wheatgrass is found in open, dry woodlands, dry hillsides, and canyons and can grow between 1.5 – 4 feet tall. It also produces seed spikes that are 3 – 8 inches long. It grows best in climates that receive annual rainfall amounts of around13 inches. It also thrives when planted in well-drained soil in areas that receive lots of sunlight.  

Bluebunch wheatgrass will go dormant during long periods of high heat and drought, which typically occurs in July and August. Because its buds are sheltered by earth and plant debris, this grass frequently survives wildfires. 

pseudoroegneria spicata grass thick and tall bush

Care and Maintenance

Bluebunch wheatgrass grows best in 6 – 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Plant it in heavy to medium-textured soils during early spring and in medium to light-textured soils during late autumn. Only plant bluebunch wheatgrass in August or September if irrigation is available.

This type of grass is often used for grazing. Wait at least two years to ensure the grass is fully established before allowing livestock to graze and rotate grazing to allow new grass to grow at least six inches.  

How to Use Bluebunch Wheatgrass in Landscapes

This grass is a drought-tolerant perennial that’s great for soil stabilization. It can cohabit with slower-growing grasses, but not with aggressive imported grasses.

Companion Plants

Big sagebrush, juniper, ponderosa pine, needlegrass, and Idaho fescue are all often planted with bluebunch wheatgrass and have a many of the same maintenance and care needs.

1. Big Sagebrush

Big sagebrush grows in dry and semi-dry climates like deserts and mountains. This plant has a coarse stem with multiple upward-facing branches. It can reach a height of 3 – 6 feet, or 12 feet in moist environments. 

Older sagebrush plants are distinguished by rough, gray-colored striped bark. Even though sagebrush loses some of its leaves in late summer, it maintains its foliage year-round and produces small yellow or white flowers that bloom in the summer and in the fall. 

autumn tall sagebush grass

2. Juniper

The juniper plant is a spreading shrub found on rocky soils. It has needle-like foliage and produces berry-like blue or reddish-brown cones that have a gray, waxy coating. 

Juniper cones are commonly used to flavor foods and alcoholic beverages. They have a somewhat bitter flavor and a fragrant spicy scent. 

3. Ponderosa Pine

Ponderosa pine is one of the tallest trees in the Southwest, growing over 200 feet tall with trunks 3 – 4 feet in diameter. This pine is named for its ponderous (heavy) wood and produces strong and flexible needles that grow 4 – 8 inches long.

These trees live on dry mountain slopes and mesas and grow on dry, well-drained, and exposed slopes or plateaus. Their bark smells like vanilla or butterscotch.

4. Needlegrass

Needlegrass refers to this plant’s extremely fine grass blades; it’s also known as speargrass or wiregrass. It is low maintenance once established and helps to prevent erosion.

Needlegrass can endure extreme drought once they become established. It requires full sunlight, and average, well-drained soil.

closeup picture of a needle grass

5. Idaho fescue

Idaho fescue is also known as blue bunchgrass It is a hardy, densely clumping perennial grass with stems that grow 30 – 80 cm tall. It produces spiky hair-like clusters that bloom in the summer.

Idaho fescue is drought tolerant and can endure freezing temperatures, making it fairly low maintenance. Mow this grass high after it has bloomed so that only the blooms are removed. 

thick fescue fetusca grass
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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