Plains Bristlegrass, also known as streambed bristle grass, is a warm-season, perennial bunchgrass native to the southern plains of the United States. Although considered good forage for livestock, most see this grass species as fair for wildlife use.
As forage for livestock, green Bristlegrass provides moderate to high-quality feed for all types of grazing animals. As such, this grass type is seen as a better option if you are planting food for wildlife; it makes for fair to good forage for such animals since it produces seeds that are a good source of food for wildlife.
Plains Bristlegrass is best seeded using a grass drill to make sure its small seeds are planted properly – an eighth or a quarter inch deep. According to experts, it’s best to plant shallow than too deep.
Once the stand has been established, it’s important that grazing does not occur until after a year has passed. The plants should be allowed to mature and produce seeds first before continuous or rotational grazing can occur.
Find out more about the best ways to plant and maintain Bristlegrass and other native plants by heading over to our How to Guide page.
Grass Family (Poaceae : Paniceae)
Latin Name: Setaria leucopila
(Synonym: Setaria macrostachya)
Value: Wildlife – fair to good
Livestock – good
Plains Bristlegrass has only one bristle below each seed. The stems branch at the base and the nodes. Hairs are located just below the stem nodes. Leaf blades are often folded and rough. The grass starts growth mid-spring and flowers from May to September. It may produce more than one seed crop depending on available moisture. This grass is a good seed producer and reproduces from seeds and tillers. This grass cannot withstand heavy grazing; it usually does not occur in dense stands. It is adapted to prairies, dry woods, and rocky slopes, as well as in open shade of brush and small trees where it is protected from livestock. Bristlegrass is most abundant in alkaline soils along gullies and streams.