Also known as fairway wheatgrass and fairway crested wheatgrass, the crested wheatgrass is a strong pasture grass for livestock such as cattle, sheep, and horses, and wildlife like elk and deer. Small mammals and birds feed off the seeds of the grass, and some songbirds use the stands for lodging. Crested wheatgrass is also suitable to help in erosion control and reclamation of disturbed soil areas. Tolerance to drought is another feature of crested wheatgrass, which makes it appropriate for areas that receive 12 to 14 inches in annual precipitation.
Plow field areas and remove weeds. The areas you select for planting crested wheatgrass should be known for having good drainage and never hold standing water for any length of time.
Plant your seeds in the very early spring if the texture of your soil is coarse to medium. Seeds should be sown at a depth of an inch or less in this soil.
Sow seeds in late fall if you have light to medium textured soils. These seeds should be planted at ½-inch deep or less. Using a seed drill can help you plant at accurate depths over large areas.
Water the field daily to keep the soil moist for the first four weeks while your seeds germinate. Misting or spraying the soil will dampen the ground without accidentally overwatering and trapping the seeds underground.
Keep livestock away from the new plants until the stands are established and they have produced seed heads. Once established, crested wheatgrass is very tolerant of heavy grazing, but be sure to stop grazing once only three inches of grass remains.
Rotate your livestock to other fields, typically after about six days of grazing, so the grasses have time to rest and grow. Managing field rotation, or deferment, puts all of your grazing fields on a schedule so no fields are overgrazed.