How to Grow Cheatgrass


Cheatgrass is a winter annual bunch grass that can reach up to 2 feet in height and produces appealing nodding red flower heads when in bloom. It grows all over the United States, and as cheatgrass is a highly successful invasive species, it is exceedingly easy to grow. While invasive species can be problematic and must be carefully monitored to prevent spread and supplantation of other grasses, some like it because it is green in the fall and early spring when many native bunchgrasses are not.

Step 1

Choose your planting location. Cheatgrass is highly flammable and spreads like a weed, so you must take these features into consideration when planting it. Be sure that the location is far from your house to avoid a fire hazard, and ensure that there is no nearby grass cover that you want to retain, as cheatgrass is likely to spread and supplant it over time.

Step 2

Prepare the grow site. Cheatgrass is a hardy, tenacious plant so little soil preparation is needed. Simply remove any weeds or other debris from the ground. Then water the area thoroughly so that it retains moisture but is not flooded. If the area is large, you may want to wait until after a few days of moderate rain.

Step 3

Calculate the area of your grow site. If the shape is rectangular, this can be done by multiplying the length and width of the grow site. If the grow site is an irregular shape, break it down into familiar geometric shapes, calculate their individual areas and then add them together. Use the area to calculate how much grass seed you will need.

Step 4

Plant your cheatgrass seed. Cheatgrass is a winter annual grass that is best planted in early fall. If you plan to cover a large area, water it thoroughly and then use a seed drill to plant your cheatgrass seed 1/4 inch deep. However, cheatgrass seed may also be hand broadcast (spread over the soil) over watered, moist soil and then raked into the soil.

Step 5

Water the cheatgrass seed. An ample water supply is essential to the germination of grass seed. Water the area at least once a week or as often as required to keep the soil moist until the cheatgrass germinates when fall is in full swing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cheatgrass is highly flammable and invasive and therefore must be carefully monitored.

Things You'll Need

  • Cheatgrass seed
  • Rototiller
  • Rake


  • California Native Grasslands Association: Bunchgrass
  • United States Department of Agriculture: Cheatgrass
Keywords: grow cheatgrass, seed cheatgrass, plant cheatgrass

About this Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.