Koeleria Macanthra – June Grass (Sp,DM,A,N, Sun)
7″ Tall x 12″ Spread, light green spiky leaves. Purple-red spikes form on one side of the stem from late June to early August. When blooming, orange stamens and feathery stigmas form from the spikelets.
- seed for birds, used for flour by native americans
- Blooms: April to June (Sp)
- Moisture: Dry to Medium (DM)
- Soil Type: ALL: Sands, Loams, and drained Clays (A)
- Range: Native (N)
- Started as: Seed 7-10 days
In my garden I will be testing for its ability to live in raised clay to provide drainage. There is 6 inch ridge made of overturned blue grass to find a sticky clay. This set over a winter, and not much has grown on it.
I planted in a 70/30 sandy topsoil to container soil. I may want to go back and provide a bigger pocket below the plant. I’ve reduced the watering schedule to 2x a week if natural rain patterns are not providing enough. The goal will be only rare occasional supplemental water to ensure sprinklers still function. 🙂
Propagation by seed
Best seeded in early spring. Can be susceptible to heaving, soil cracking during winter and very early spring.
The seed should be planted into a clean, weed-free, firm seedbed at soil surface to 1/8-inch depth because seed requires light to achieve maximum germination.
Grows best in open, rocky soils but can tolerate clay if well drained.
Seed heads will form in the 2nd or 3rd season.
Role in Ecosystem
June Grass is a cool season grass and active growth begins early in spring providing good forage for livestock, deer, antelope and elk. It has a tolerance to grazing. If theres sufficient moisture in fall it will green up again grow in fall. It provides feed for upland game birds, small mammals, and numerous grasshoppers and leafhoppers. Prairie Junegrass may also be cultivated for forage or fodder and is used as a low input turfgrass (e.g. golf courses) and as an ornamental grass. Native Americans used the seeds to make flour for bread and mush. They also fashioned paint brushes and brooms from the leaves.
Role in common cause
- Fire suppression
- Erosion on Disturbed Soils
Although this species varies on its impact on fighting wildfires depending on the environment it grows in and the state of the plant, it provides a much needed damper for controlling the fire once it has begun.
On cultivated or constructed lands its useful in seed mixes for restoration of native prairie, savanna, coastal scrub, chaparral and open forest habitats across much of North America. Good drought tolerance and fibrous roots make it useful for revegetation and erosion control on mined lands, over septic systems, and on construction sites, burns and other disturbed areas.