Many types of grass can grow naturally in an area, providing necessary nutrients. Native grasses are varieties not introduced by humans. Many common types of natural grass exist along the valleys and mountains of Wyoming. Natural grass provides erosion control when planted along stretches of Wyoming highways. Various types of ornamental grasses enhance some of Wyoming’s dry, arid landscapes. Livestock graze on natural grass found in meadows and fields.
Cheatgrass, also known as downy brome, is native to many western states, including Wyoming. Cheatgrass grows between 3 and 30 inches high. It gradually changes color from green to yellow as it reaches maturity. It invades many areas of the Great Basin and spreads along Wyoming’s sagebrush plateaus. This grass poses a problem for farmers and ranchers, due to its invasive nature. Cheatgrass often grows through the winter, removing moisture from the soil before other types of perennial plants begin to grow in the spring. Cheatgrass poses a wildfire risk during dry summer months in many arid locations.
Little bluestem is a native grass that grows freely on the eastern plains of Wyoming. This grass exhibits a blue-green color during warm summer months. Growing between 1 and 2 feet, this grass turns orange during the autumn months. It provided interest as an ornamental grass in many Wyoming landscapes and garden areas.
This pretty, ornamental grass emerges in the spring in Wyoming. Red tips on the grass blades provide interesting color during the early months, while reddish-pink seeds emerge during the summer. Often reaching 10 feet in height, when used as a backdrop in the garden this grass can add interesting contrast to other plants. Switchgrass thrives in sunny locations. This grass flourishes in the natural landscape, seldom requiring fertilizers.
Karl Foerster is a type of reed grass native to Wyoming. This is a tall grass, often reaching a height of 4 feet in some areas. In early summer the green leaves produce wheat-colored blossoms. These blossoms stay on the blades of grass throughout the winter months. When planted in numbers, Karl Foerster provides an interesting focal point in the landscape. This ornamental grass tolerates light shade.