Planting Guide For Little Bluestem

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Little Bluestem Planting and Care Guide

Quick Facts About Little Bluestem

A North American Native with silvery-blue stems, Little Bluestem has long been an attractive addition to gardens. Its extensive and deep roots gives it the ability to grow along dry ridges and hillsides. This makes it great for erosion control and filling in gaps.

Planting Time

Little Bluestem native grass seed should be seeded as early in the spring as possible. Where no-till is used due to slope, stoniness, or other reasons, sod control should be performed in the fall to permit early spring planting.

Planting Location

Little Bluestem grows the best in full sun and, once established, is extremely drought resistant. You can start little bluestem in rich soil or dry rocky soil but no fertilizer is needed if started if started in a richer environment.

How to Plant Little Bluestem

Seed into a firm seedbed in early spring for best results. Seed as a solid stand (8 inches or less row spacing) at approximately 3.4-4.5 lb/acre or 30 seeds per linear foot of row, or 2.5 lb/acre for 24-inch rows. Glyphosate may be used for weed control immediately after seeding to kill everything green and growing. Other herbicide weed control options are also available.

Care And Maintenance

Control of competition is necessary for successful stand establishment. High mowing (above the bluestem seedlings) is a common method of weed control. Once established, poor stands can be rehabilitated by using proper management practices, such as controlled grazing, application of recommended rates of herbicides and fertilizer, and prescribed spring burning, where permitted.

Do not graze a forage planting of native grasses during the year of establishment. During subsequent growing seasons, harvesting by controlled grazing or haying is possible on good stands. Do not remove more than 50% of the current year’s growth from plants. No cropping should occur below 8 inches or within 1 month of anticipated frosts. Grazing of competing cool season grasses after frost in the fall and before the Little Bluestem is 1 inch tall in the spring is desirable.


Seeding Rate:

8 - 12 PLS lbs per acre or 1/2 - 1 PLS lb per 1000 square feet for ornamental plantings.


  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun
  • Moisture Requirements: Adaptable to dry
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun
  • Soil Type: Tolerate poor soil
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