Why plant Audubon® Native Sideoats Grama?
Fringes are fabulous in bird habitat gardens! They provide food, shelter, and nesting materials, and they’re beautiful to look at, too. Sideoats Grama is an especially fine Fringe for your backyard bird sanctuary. This elegant but playful native plant makes a V-shaped clump of grassy foliage topped by arching stems hung with dangling seeds. Birds that forage at ground level—like juncos, sparrows, and towhees—may dine on the seeds. Sideoats Grama serves as a host plant to several moths and butterflies, and songbirds will feed on the caterpillars they find there as well. Don’t forget the Fringe!
You have probably never heard of Sideoats Grama, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. This wide-ranging Fringe is native from Canada all the way to Argentina! In the U.S., it is present in all but six of the Lower 48 states (it is absent in North Carolina and five New England states). It’s especially plentiful on the Great Plains, where it controls erosion and provides wildlife habitat for prairie chickens, quail, and grouse. It also serves as fodder for horses, cattle, and sheep—though it once nourished huge, roaming herds of bison. Sideoats Grama is the official state grass of Texas.
How to use Audubon® Native Sideoats Grama in the landscape?
Precious flowers! Sideoats Grama flowers in mid-summer. The tiny blooms are inconspicuous except for the fact that the stamens are bright orange-red. When viewed up close, you’ll find that they’re quite adorable! With the sun shining through them, they sparkle like jewels.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Sideoats Grama
Sideoats Grama is a low-water, low-maintenance dream. Plant this easygoing Fringe in full sun, in soil that drains well. The soil type can be sandy or clayey or anything in between—it’s not fussy. Provide regular irrigation the first year; after that, plants should be very drought tolerant. Leave the dried, grassy tufts standing all winter for maximum bird benefit. Cut plants down in early spring. Sideoats Grama is a warm-season grass, which means it is slow to start growing in the spring. Be patient. It will shoot up quickly once the ground warms up.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.