Crested Wheatgrass was introduced from Russia, Siberia and Turkey, perhaps as early as 1898. It is a cool season perennial bunchgrass, without rhizomes, growing to a height of 1 to 2 feet. It starts growth in early spring and flowers in late spring. It reproduces from seeds and tillers and may regrow in the fall if moisture is sufficient. It is long-lived with a deep root system. It has good seedling vigor.
CRESTED WHEATGRASS HABITAT
Crested Wheatgrass can be found on most rangelands of the intermountain west. It is adapted from 2,500-9,000 feet, though it performs best between 4-6,000. It prefers well drained soils, it is not adapted to poorly-drained soils or heavy clay soils. It requires a minimum of 10″ annual precipitation. It has fair tolerance to alkali and acidity.
CRESTED WHEATGRASS USES
Crested Wheatgrass produces fair forage. As the grass matures is becomes harsh and protein content drops rapidly. It does, however, yield well and is highly palatable in the spring. It is used extensively for reclamation, stabilization and erosion control. It is a primary component of our Dryland Pasture Mix. Because of ease of establishment, longevity and broad value it is planted more frequently in the intermountain west and desert southwest than any other grass species for dryland pasture, reclamation and stabilization.
CRESTED WHEATGRASS VARIETIES
Agropyron cristatum should not be confused with Agropyron desertorum, though the two are closely related. Hycrest is a hybrid between A. cristatum and A. desertorum.
There are a number of crested wheatgrass varieties. Use the downloadable documents to help you make the choice most appropriate for your needs.
- Fairway: introduced/released 1983, from Ankara Turkey. Fairway’s rhizomatous growth habit make it well suited for soil stabilization.
- Ephraim: released in 1994, a hybrid of four accessions. Quality forage value, high seedling vigor.
- Roadcrest: introduced/released 1998 from Iran/Turkey. Roadcrest is shorter and has a finer leaf texture that other varieties, and as the name suggests, is used for roadside reclamation and low maintenance turf areas. It is more sod forming and less clumpy than other crested wheat grasses.
- Kirk: introduced/released from Siberia in 1297. Short and fine-stemmed. Capable of forming sod in dryland areas.
- Douglas Crested Wheatgrass
For additional information see the USDA PLANTS database.