Vik Farm

Native Grass

Warm Season Native Grass


1. Piney Woods
    The major commercial timber species are loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, longleaf pine, and slash pine.  The principal grasses are mainly species of Panicum, Paspalum and Andropogon.  Frequent in forest association are blackseed needlegrass, Virginia wildrye, Canada wildrye,  purpletop, broadleaf uniola, spike uniola, pineland bluestem, switchcane, and brownseed paspalum.

2. Gulf Prairies / Marshes
    The principal climax plants of the prairie sites are tall bunch grass, including big bluestem, seacoast bluestem, Indiangrass, eastern gamagrass, switchgrass, and gulf cordgrass. Seashore saltgrass, is frequently on moist saline sites.
    The vegetation of the Gulf Marshes consists primarily of species of Carex, Cyperus, Rhynchospora, Scirpus, Juncus and marshhay cordgrass. Marsh millet is frequently in dense stands.

3. Post Oak Savannah
    The climax vegetation was basically a savanna type. Due to intensive grazing practices, much of this area has degenerated to dense stands of oak brush with an under story of yaupon.
    The climax grass vegetation consists mainly of little bluestem, Indiangrass. switchgrass, purpletop, silver bluestem, Texas wintergrass, spike uniola, longleaf uniola.  Woody species are post oak and blackjack oak.

4. Blackland Prairie
     For the most part, this fertile area has been brought under cultivation and only small acreages of meadowland remain in climax tall grass vegetation. In heavily grazed pastures, the tall bunch grasses have been replaced by bermuda grass (a non-native), buffalo grass, Texas grama, and other grasses of lower productivity. 
    On the carefully grazed pastures and the hay meadows, the climax grass vegetation includes little and big bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, sideoats grama, hairy grama, tall dropseed, Texas wintergrass and buffalograss.

5. Cross Timbers/Prairie
    The climax prairie vegetation is comprised primarily of big and little bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, sideoats grama, blue grama, buffalograss, and Texas wintergrass.
    On the predominantly sandy soils of the Cross Timbers, the woodland vegetation is dominated by shinnery oak, post oak and blackjack oak. The climax herbaceous vegetation is composed of big and Iittle bluestem, sand lovegrass, Indiangrass, and switchgrass.

6. South Texas Plains
    The original vegetation was comprised mainly of perennial warm-season bunchgrasses in post oak and Iive oak, frequently with mesquite and other brush species forming dense thickets on the ridges.  Long-continued grazing has altered the vegetation to such a degree that now the region is known as the "brush country." Most of the desirable grasses have persisted under the
protection of brush and cacti.
    Characteristic grasses of the sandy loam soils are seacoast bluestem, species of Setaria, Paspalum, Chloris and Trichloris,
silver bluestem, big sandbur, and tanglehead. The dominant grasses on the clay and clay loams are silver bluestem, Arizona cottontop, buffalograss, curly mesquite, and species of Setaria, Pappophorum and Bouteloua. Low saline areas are characterized by gulf cordgrass, seashore saltgrass, alkali sacaton, and switchgrass. In the post oak and live oak savannahs, the grasses are mainl'y seacoast bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, crinkleawn, and species of Paspalum.

7. Edwards Plateau
    The Edwards Plateau is a region of limestone outcrops and rocky but fertile soil. In the east central portion is the well marked "Central Basin" (centering in Mason, Llano and Burnet counties), with a mixture of granitic and sandy soils. The western portion of the area is comprised of the semi-arid Stockton Plateau which has an annual rainfall of 18-20 inches or less.
    The principal climax grasses of this area are cane bluestem, silver bluestem, Iittle bluestem, sideoats and hairy grama, Indiangrass, curlymesquite, buffalograss, fall witchgrass,and species of Tridens and Elymus.  Tobosa forms dense stands on
the Stockton Plateau.
    Throughout the Edwards Plateau, liveoak, shinnery oak, mesquite and species of Juniperus dominate the woody vegetation.

8. Rolling Plains
    This area has rolling to rough topography and mixed grassland vegetation. Soils range from coarse sands along outwash terraces adjacent to streams to tight or compact clays on red bed clays and shales. Rough, broken lands on steep slopes are found in the western portion.
    The principal climax grasses are mixtures of big and little bluestem, sand bluestem, sideoats grama, Indiangrass and switchgrass in the more sandy soils. Sideoats and blue grama, tobosa and buffalograss are dominant on the tighter
soils. Mesquite is a common invader on all soils. Shinnery oak and sand sagebrush are common on the deep sands.

9. High Plains
    This is a level to slightly rolling plains with highly fertile clay and sandy soils. Blue grama and buffalograss comprise the principal vegetation on the clay and clay loam sites. Other important grasses are little bluestem, sideoats grama, western wheatgrass, Indiangrass and switchgrass on the sandy loam soiIs.  Shinnery oak and sand sagebrush are conspicuous on sandy sites. Several species of drop seeds are abundant on coarse sands in the southern portion.

10. Trans-Pecos
    This area includes most of the region west of the Pecos River. It is made up mainly of arid valleys, plateaus and mountains. The mountains are 3,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation and support ponderosa pine forest vegetation on a few of the higher slopes.
    The principal vegetation types are the creosote bush and tar bush, desert shrub, grama grassland, Yucca and Juniperus savannahs, and pinon pine, and oak forest.  Alkali sacaton and species of salt bush are present on the saline soils.
    The grass vegetation, especially on the higher mountain slopes, includes many south western and Rocky Mountain species not present elsewhere in Texas. On the desert flats, black grama burrograss, and fluffgrass are frequent. More productive sites have numerous species of grama, muhly, drop seed and perennial threeawn grasses. At the higher elevations, little bluestem and Texas bluestem, sideoats and blue grama, pinon ricegrass, wolf tail and several species of Stipa are frequent.

Major High Successional Native Grasses

Cows Strip Grazing Dormant Native Grass

Cows Strip Grazing Dormant Native Grass For Winter Feed

Dormant native grass, plus protein supplement, provides economical winter feed, saving the expense of feeding hay. For the most efficient utilization, use portable electric fencing and give them just what they will eat in a day.  This will discourage "trampling and sampling".

W.R. Teague, S.L. Dowhower, S.A. Baker, N. Haile, P.B. DeLaune, D.M. Conover

Texas AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University System, P.O. Box 1658, Vernon, TX 76384, USA
Natural Resource Conservation Service, 532 Santa Fe Street, Weatherford, TX 76086, USA


To assess whether adaptive management using multi-paddock grazing is superior to continuous grazing regarding conservation and restoration of resources we evaluated the impact of multi-paddock (MP) grazing at a high stocking rate compared to light continuous (LC) and heavy continuous (HC) grazing on neighboring commercial ranches in each of three proximate counties in north Texas tall grass prairie. The same management had been conducted on all ranches for at least the previous 9 years. Impact on soils and vegetation was compared to ungrazed areas (EX) in two of the counties. MP grazing was managed using light to moderate defoliation during the growing season followed by adequate recovery before regrazing after approximately 40 days and 80 days during fast and slow growing conditions, respectively. The vegetation was dominated by high seral grasses with MP grazing and EX, and dominated by short grasses and forbs with HC grazing. LC grazing had a lower proportion of high seral grasses than MP grazing or EX. Bare ground was higher on HC than LC, MP and EX, while soil aggregate stability was higher with MP than HC grazing but not LC grazing and EX. Soil penetration resistance was lowest with MP grazing and EX and highest with HC grazing. Bulk density did not differ among grazing management categories. Infiltration rate did not differ among grazing management categories but sediment loss was higher with HC than the other grazing management categories. Soil organic matter and cation exchange capacity were higher with MP grazing and EX than both LC and HC grazing. The fungal/bacterial ratio was highest with MP grazing indicating superior water-holding capacity and nutrient availability and retention for MP grazing. This study documents the positive results for long-term maintenance of resources and economic viability by ranchers who use adaptive management and MP grazing relative to those who practice continuous season-long stocking.

PDF version of paper from ResearchGate