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

Although a majority of prairie plants we carry are warm-season plants, the prairie also maintains a variety of cool-season plants.


These cool-season species 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 Cool Season Grasses(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(WSGs) break dormancy in mid-Spring and make their growth during the hot Summer months while there are high temperatures and limited rainfall. Because of their extensive root system, these plants are efficient 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.

Warm-season prairie grasses focus most of their energy on establishing a root system during the seeding year, emerging as thin, needle-like shoots that produce very little top growth in the beginning.


Management practices differ between CSGs and WSGs. Although seedbed preparation is much the same, planting dates for Cool-season grasses are in early Spring & Late Summer/Early Fall. Warm-season grasses should be planted in late Spring, and should not be planted in late Summer or Early Fall.