South Park native grasses

Asked July 7, 2016, 12:37 PM EDT

I heard and read that South Park historically contained some of the highest protein native grasses in the world, and that those grasses were bailed and shipped to royalty in England and Russia for their horses. Since then, the spread of non-native seeds and lost water rights largely ended that legacy of famous Colorado hay. I'm trying to find out which species of grass were/are the high protein, most historically-important grasses in South Park. Any help is hugely appreciated!

Park County Colorado

3 Responses

Hi- There historical anecdotes of writers to this, because of the volcanic ash content in certain areas. However, there is no science behind this and grasses would have to be tested to confirm protein content, dry detergent matter, Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous levels, etc.

While Park County does enjoy a wonderful blend of Orchard, Wheatgrass, Brome, Prairie Grass, a Variety of Rye's, Bluegrasses, Junegrass, Timothy-- the cool season grasses, I do not know of any grower that claims to have "superior" hay. The last two years of excellent snowpack and good summer rains have contributed to pastureland improvement, as well as locoweed, Canadian thistle and yellow toadflax problems.

I hope this helps you.

Volcanic ash is notoriously fertile..... So interesting! Thanks for the help. Funny-- I've contacted a few other ecologists and no one seems to have any information about this. Your's is the best answer yet. Cheers!