How to Grow Beardless Wheatgrass

Overview

Found along the western half of North America, the beardless wheatgrass prefers areas which receive 12 to 20 inches of precipitation annually. Used for wildlife and livestock grazing, as well as erosion control, beardless wheatgrass can get up to four feet tall and is quite drought tolerant. In the springtime the grazing of beardless wheatgrass is excellent for sheep, elk, deer, horses and cattle. Although the grass becomes coarser in the summer, the beardless wheatgrass can be grazed year round.

Step 1

Prepare the area you will be planting in and remove as many weeds as you can to give the seeds room to germinate and grow without competition for water. Beardless wheatgrass grows best in medium to coarse grades soils, so heavy plowing isn't necessary.

Step 2

Time your seed planting based on the growing season. For a medium to heavy soil, the best time to plant is very early spring. If your soil is more light to medium, then late fall is the optimum time for planting. Unless you have an irrigation system available to maintain moisture, late summer planting is not recommended.

Step 3

Plant your seeds using a seed drill for accuracy. For fine soils, plant seeds ¼-inch deep, medium-textured soils at ½-inch deep, and coarse soils should be planted at ¾-inch deep or less.

Step 4

Moisten the soil every day, but do not saturate it. If the ground becomes too wet, the soil may harden around the seeds as it dries. Continue to water the soil daily for the first month so the seeds can germinate and grow into seedlings.

Step 5

Allow two to three years for the stands to establish before you let any animals graze the field. Once established, make sure the stands have headed out before the livestock starts to graze them.

Step 6

Limit spring grazing by waiting until at least six inches of growth is seen and even then only once every three years at the most frequent. Other grazings should keep animals rotated around pastures to avoid heavy grazing continuously on the same field.

Tips and Warnings

  • As the stands become established, keep the area well weeded to keep the stands from being choked out.

Things You'll Need

  • Plowed field
  • Seed drill
  • Beardless wheatgrass seeds, 7 pounds per acre
  • Water source

References

  • USDA Plant guide
  • Forages; Robert F. Barnes, C. Jerry Nelson, Kenneth J. Moore, Michael Collins; 2007
Keywords: wheatgrass, beardless wheatgrass, growing wheatgrass

About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.