Bushy Bluestem (Glomeratus)

The Bushy Bluestem (Glomeratus) is generally described as a perennial graminoid. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the summer . The Bushy Bluestem (Glomeratus) has green foliage and inconspicuous white flowers, with an abuncance of conspicuous brown fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late summer, with fruit and seed production starting in the fall and continuing until winter. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Bushy Bluestem (Glomeratus) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Bushy Bluestem (Glomeratus) will reach up to 6.3 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 0 inches.

The Bushy Bluestem (Glomeratus) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by seed, sprigs. It has a moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have high vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -23°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Livestock: Although it rates low as a forage grass, bushy beardgrass can be used as forage during the summer, fall, and winter months; however, it is more palatable during the early spring. The palatability is increased after a late winter burning.

Ornamental Landscaping: Bushy beardgrass is used as an ornamental grass in landscapes because of its showy plumes that turn a rust color during late fall and early winter. It is recommended for golf courses, around pond edges, stream banks and other wet sites.

Wildlife: Bushy beardgrass benefits wildlife. The finch, junco, and tree sparrow eat the seeds. The white-tailed deer and rabbits browse the plant. Bushy beardgrass also provides cover for mottled ducks and fawns (white-tailed deer).

Conservation Practices: Bushy beardgrass, because of its growth habit, potentially has application when established with the following conservation practices; however, conservation practice standards vary by state. For localized information, consult your local NRCS Field Office. NRCS practices include the following: 327-Conservation Cover; 386-Field Border; 390-Riparian Herbaceous Cover; 393-Filter Strip; 512-Pasture and Hay Planting; 550-Range Planting; 560-Access Road; 562-Recreation Area Improvement; 643-Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats; 644-Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management; 647-Early Successional Habitat Development/Management; 656-Constructed Wetland; 657-Wetland Restoration; 658-Wetland Creation; 659-Wetland Enhancement.

General Characteristics

General: Grass Family (Poaceae). It is a persistent, warm-season, perennial, low growing bunchgrass that is found from late summer to fall and reaches a height of 6 feet. It can be distinguished from other warm season grasses by its thick, massive, reddish brown, terminal inflorescence composed of paired silky racemes and its flattened blue green foliage. The culms are erect, 50 to 150 cm tall, compressed, with broad keeled, overlapping lower sheaths and the flat tufts often forming dense, usually glaucous clumps. The sheaths are occasionally villous; blades elongate, 3 to 8 mm wide; inflorescence dense and feathery. The sessile spikelets are 3 to 4 mm long with a straight awn 1 to 1.5 cm long. The fruit/seed period begins in the fall and ends in the winter.

Required Growing Conditions

Bushy beardgrass is found in low roadsides, moist pinelands, brackish and freshwater marsh borders, sloughs, and wet ditches. It is native to and is found in nearly all of the eastern United States, mainly in the southern states, and extending west to California. Bushy beardgrass is also found in the West Indies, Yucatan, and Central America. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Cultivation and Care

Adaptation: The USDA Hardiness Zones for bushy beardgrass is 5 to 10. Bushy beardgrass tolerates hot climates and coastal conditions as long as constant moisture is present. It is found in irregularly to seasonally inundated or saturated loamy soil. Bushy beardgrass is not salt tolerant and generally will not grow at levels above 0.5 parts per thousand. Bushy beardgrass does not tolerate heavy shade but will grow under light shade conditions.

Rootstock or seeds propagate bushy beardgrass. However, of the two, the best propagation method is transplantation of rootstock with liberal amounts of root-laden soil onto wet mineral soils in late winter or early spring. The plants should be spaced at 18 inches because the rate of spread is slow. Spread is generally less than 0.2 feet per year in unconsolidated sediment.

Seed germination is best when first stored at room temperature for 7-14 months. The planting should be in late winter as a dormant seeding or when daily temperatures average in the low 60’s. For planting, the seed can be broadcast and culti-packed if the right field conditions exist. The seeding rate should be 10-12 pure live seed/acre. The seeds should be planted to a depth of ¼ - ¾ inch. If the right field conditions do not exist or intensive seedbed preparation is undesirable, then disk the site and leave the surface as rough as possible. Do not create a smooth uniform appearance for the seedbed. Broadcast the seed and allow nature to cover the seeds. When seeding under minimal seedbed preparation, increase the seeding rate by 50%. It is not recommended to mix bushy beardgrass seeds with cool season grass seeds. In parts of the United States where cool season grasses dominate, the warm season grasses can be taken over because they develop slower than the cool season grasses. It is also recommended that seed not be moved more than 300 miles north or 200 miles south of its point of origin.

General Upkeep and Control

Bushy beardgrass does not require fertilizers as the plants can grow in low fertility areas. Overgrazing bushy beardgrass results in an increase of this plant. However if bushy beardgrass becomes weedy, then burning or mowing is recommended. Check with the local extension service for herbicides. Bushy beardgrass has no known pests or problems.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Graminoid
Growth Period Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Summer
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Bunch
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 6.3
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color White
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Fall Winter
Seed Spread Rate Moderate
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Seed, Sprigs
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -23
Soil Depth for Roots 12
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate Moderate
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5–6.3 pH
Precipitation Range 35–35 inches/yr
Planting Density 11000–18000 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 12
Minimum Frost-Free Days 160 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance None
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Medium
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA