Warm Season Grass (WSG) Vs. Cool Season Grass (CSG)


Although most prairie plants we carry are warm season plants, the prairie also maintains cool season plants. These CSGs start their growth early in the spring and continue growth for as long as rains and cool temperatures prevail. They go dormant during hot, dry months of summer and start growth again in the cool months of fall if moisture is adequate. Most CSGs turn brown during extremely hot and dry conditions. Most native CSGs can withstand this dormancy, but many introduced species may die.

Warm season grasses break dormancy in mid-spring and make their growth during the hot summer months. Because of their extensive root system, these plants are conservers of water and nutrients. Because of their low water requirement, WSGs are very drought tolerant, which keeps them green and growing even during dry conditions. WSGs go dormant in the fall after a freeze, but provide a display of fall colors that make them valuable additions to any landscape.

Management practices differ between CSG and WSG. Although seedbed preparation is much the same, planting dates for CSGs are in early spring and late summer or early fall. WSGs are planted in late spring, but should not be planted in late summer or early fall.