Grass seed type sought for non-irrigated land that will reduce invasive grass & weeds.

Asked February 27, 2020, 5:26 PM EST

We have 65 acres in Deschutes County. 55 acres are in Orchard grass & we raise hay. We have started clearing land from cheet grass, goat heads, tumble weeds and thistle. When clearing this land, we want to plant a grass seed that will grow in the non-irrigated areas that will help choke out some of the invasive weeds and grass. We can put livestock on this or not. At this time, livestock is not on the land nor is it anticipated that they will be within the next 5 years. Is there a grass seed you recommend and what planting recommendations would you have for it?

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

Hi there,

For your situation, I believe the best option would be to plant crested wheatgrass. Crested wheatgrass is much more competitive with cheatgrass than native grasses will be, and it establishes better without irrigation than native grasses. It is also palatable for livestock, if you do end up wanting to graze it one day.
In sandier soils with no irrigation, you would want to plant in the late fall in order to take advantage of as much precipitation as possible for establishment. See this publication for more management information: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/idpmspg04842.pdf

You take time this spring and summer to work on controlling cheatgrass using integrated weed management approach, such as using the appropriate herbicides or using tillage at the right time. If using herbicides, please be sure to follow the labels exactly for the products intended use.

Info on cheatgrass management: https://www.deschutes.org/sites/default/files/fileattachments/road/page/1690/cheatgrass.pdf

If have additional questions, please contact Mylen Bohle at the Crook County Extension office.