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Buffalograss

Buffalo grass

Buffalograss is a native perennial prairie grass growing around nine inches (22.86 cm) tall. It is readily recognized by its gray-green foliage and its wiry, naked stolons (runners).

Buffalograss occurs throughout the Great Plains from Montana and the Dakotas southward into Mexico and Central America. Buffalograss is a warm season grass and is one of the most dominant grasses of the shortgrass prairie of North America. In the tallgrass prairie, it occurs on dry, exposed sites.

Plants are found in loamy-clay soils and soils that are intermittently wet or dry and can withstand periodoic flooding and prolonged drought. Growth begins in late spring and continues throughout the summer. Buffalograss forms a dense sod and withstands grazing because of its dense tufts and growing points at ground level. Buffalograss is an excellent forage grass for livestock that cures well, meaning it retains its nutrients after dormancy. It has been used as groundcover in areas where limited maintenance is desired. It is also gaining acceptance as a lawn grass.

A few songbirds consume the caryopses*. Pronghorn antelope, bison, cattle and less frequently white-tailed deer graze buffalograss as well.

*Caryopses: in grasses, one-seeded fruit. Synonym is grain.