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Line Drawing of Nassella viridula (Trin.) Barkworth

Green Needlegrass
Nassella viridula

Native to the northern Great Plains and adjacent areas.  Rather tall, cool-season, long-lived, perennial bunchgrass.  It grows 18" to 3 1/2' tall with abundant, glossy bright green basal leaves 4 to 12" long.  Deep fibrous root system. 


Preferences One of a few native cool season grasses with a wide range of soil adaptation, especially tolerant of heavy clays.  Starts growth in March and makes most of its vegetative growth in May and June, matures in July.  Makes re-growth all summer if moisture is adequate.  Thrives on clay soils and fractured shale of bottom lands, less common on sandy and loam soils.  It has good drought resistance, but not as good as blue grama and nearly as good as western wheatgrass.


Uses Used for pasture, hay, and land stabilization, on erosive sandy to clayey soils in northern Great Plains.  Seeds eaten by small rodents and song birds.  Often seeded in mixtures with western wheatgrass or legumes or both.  It is best not to graze first season.  Planned grazing with two months rest every other year, if possible, where warm season grasses are nearby , plan to use them in rotation.  Moderately palatable, use when plants are still green and after seed drop. 


Planting Drill 1/2 - 3/4" deep on loam and clay soils.  Drill slightly deeper on sandy soils.  Control weeds in new stands and withhold grazing until stands established.   Weeds need to be controlled especially in first 30 to 60 days of growth.   .