Junegrass

Credit: 
Percy Folkard, BC FLNR
Credit: 
JRJ
Scientific name: 

Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Schult.

Type: 
Native Grass
Annual precip. min (mm): 
300
Annual precip. max (mm): 
500
Seed size: 
Small
Seeds per kg: 
3,448,000
Typical seeding objectives: 
PR Suitability note: 
Junegrass is found in native plant communities in the Peace Region, especially on steep southern exposures on banks of the major rivers and in undisturbed parkland areas.
Key considerations: 
Junegrass is considered an early successional species and suitable for site rehabilitation where there is a native plant community objective.
General Description: 

Junegrass is a widely distributed, long-lived, strongly-tufted, cool season, native perennial bunchgrass. It is considered an early- to mid-successional species and can be co-dominant in some late successional plant communities. It tends to increase with overgrazing. Junegrass is a highly variable species, adapting to various environmental conditions with different growth forms. For example, there are variations in hairiness or hairlessness, and on drier sites, plants are shorter with more basal leaves. Its fibrous roots grow to 50 cm (20 in.) with its feeder roots extending to 75 cm (30 in.).

Stems are smooth to softly hairy, 30 to 60 cm tall (12 to 24 in.). It produces leaves with sheath margins usually not overlapping, the collars often with long, straight hairs 1 to 1.5 mm long. Leaf blades are 1 to 4.5 mm wide, 2 to 6 cm (1 to 2½ in.) long, sometimes flat, but usually folded to in-rolled with prow-like tips. They are usually rough to densely hairy or short stiff-hairy or both, rarely smooth, often greyish.

The inflorescence is a spike-like panicle, 4 to 13 cm (1½ to 5 in.) long, the short branches spreading at flowering, with spikelets 2 to 4 flowered; unawned or rarely awned. The lower branches are 3.5 mm long, while the upper ones are 4 to 6 mm long. Flowers are yellow and produced in late spring. Junegrass is a prolific seed producer with brown seeds.

Origin: 
Native
Distribution: 
Widely distributed from montane and foothill grasslands to prairie and parkland environments.
Habitat and climate: 
Occurs in grasslands and openings in northern boreal forests of Sub-Boreal Pine and Spruce and Sub-Boreal Spruce zones. In British Columbia, this grass is common in the Bunchgrass, Ponderosa Pine, and Interior Douglas-fir zones.
Uses: 
Recommended in many native seed mixes and used in reclamation and rehabilitation as a pioneer or early successional species on disturbed sites.
Optimal time of grazing use: 
Livestock prefer to graze in early spring or late fall after curing on the stem, as this is when it is most palatable. Wildlife prefer to graze it in the summer (deer) and in the spring and summer (elk).
Recovery after use (rating): 
L
Recovery after use: 
An increaser species and often used as an indicator of overgrazing. Junegrass requires a full growing season to recover from grazing.
Forage yield (rating): 
M
Palatability/Nutritional Value: 
Protein content is 20% in early spring but by late fall drops off to 4%. Plants cure well on the stem so can provide some feed for fall and winter grazing.
Longevity (rating): 
M
Persistence (rating): 
M
Persistence: 
Thought of as an early-mid successional species on many sites but can be co-dominant with late successional species in some grasslands.
Invasiveness (rating): 
L
Invasiveness: 
It is not considered invasive but can spread to adjoining communities under ideal environmental conditions.
Competitiveness (rating): 
H
Weed resistance (rating): 
M
Erosion control (rating): 
M
Erosion control: 
May contribute to erosion control once established.
Drought tolerance (rating): 
H
Winter hardiness (rating): 
H
Soil texture preference (rating): 
MC
Soil texture preference: 
Prefers medium to coarse soil textures and mesic to dry soil moisture conditions.
Flooding tolerance (rating): 
M
Salinity tolerance (rating): 
L
Acidity tolerance (rating): 
L
Acidity tolerance : 
But tolerates higher pH levels and calcareous soils.
Shade tolerance: 
Moderate
Fire tolerance (rating): 
H
Pests and/or disease threats: 
Junegrass has high fire tolerance and can increase after fire.
Ease of establishment (rating): 
L
Ease of establishment: 
Germination percentages can be low; seedling vigour can be low, and stands are slow to establish, often requiring 2-3 years.
Application requirements: 
Seed often needs to be scarified and a seed carrier is necessary. If drill seeded, row spacing of 20 to 60 cm (8 to 24 in.) (Black and Grey soils) or 20 to 90 cm (8 to 35 in.) (warmer, drier areas) and shallow seeding no more than 0.6 cm (1/4 in.) is recommended. Spring seeding preferred.
Suggested mixtures: 
Often associated with hairy wildrye and reedgrasses in forest openings in northern British Columbia and with bluebunch wheatgrass, rough fescue, and Sandberg’s bluegrass in grassland communities in southern British Columbia.