Pinegrass

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

Calamagrostis rubescens Buckley

Type: 
Native Grass
Annual precip. min (mm): 
400
Annual precip. max (mm): 
660
Seed size: 
Small
Seeds per kg: 
8,730,000
Typical seeding objectives: 
PR Suitability note: 
Pinegrass is not typically part of native plant communities found in the Peace Region.
Key considerations: 
Pine grass is long-lived. Forage value is highest in the early part of the growing season.
General Description: 

Pinegrass is a native perennial adapted to dry woodlands and open slopes. This grass is erect, tufted, and often forms complete ground cover.

The root system forms fibrous roots and long, extensive, creeping rhizomes. Extensive roots form thick sod, therefore making pinegrass an important soil protection species.

Pinegrass stems grow erect, up to 100 cm (39 in.) tall. Leaf blades are long, drooping, and often hairy at the base. Seed heads form in dense panicles that often have a yellow-green or purplish tinge 6-15 (occasionally up to 25) cm (2-6 [occasionally up to 10 in.]) long. Spikelets are single-flowered.

Origin: 
Pinegrass is native to western North America.
Distribution: 
Pinegrass is often found in low to mid-elevation forests in the Ponderosa Pine and Interior Douglas-fir zones. At mid to high elevations, pinegrass can be found in the Interior Cedar-Hemlock, Montane Spruce, Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir, Sub-Boreal Spruce, and Sub-Boreal Pine-Spruce zones.
Habitat and climate: 
Relatively drought resistant and adapted to well-drained soils. It occurs on dry meadows, rocky slopes, and open forests from low to subalpine elevations.
Recovery after use (rating): 
H
Recovery after use: 
Pinegrass is very resilient against trampling and spreads rapidly by rhizomes.
Forage yield (rating): 
L
Forage yield: 
In semi-open forest, production can be 273 kg/ha (243 lb/acre); it can be as high as 675 kg/ha in (603 lb/acre) open areas.
Palatability/Nutritional Value: 
Fair palatability in the early spring but becoming harsh and tough by summer. Plant protein content is between 10 and 20% in the spring and drops to less than 5% by autumn.
Longevity (rating): 
H
Persistence (rating): 
M
Persistence: 
Persists or may increase in pioneer seral stages.
Competitiveness (rating): 
H
Erosion control (rating): 
H
Drought tolerance (rating): 
H
Drought tolerance: 
This species is tolerant to drought and high temperatures.
Winter hardiness (rating): 
M
Winter hardiness: 
Pinegrass tolerates moderate winter temperatures and is fairly frost tolerant.
Acidity tolerance (rating): 
H
Acidity tolerance : 
Prefers pH levels of 5.5 to 8.0.
Shade tolerance: 
Pinegrass is shade tolerant to very shade tolerant. It occurs naturally under forest canopies and reduction of forest cover stimulates increased flowering.
Ease of establishment (rating): 
L
Ease of establishment: 
Pinegrass establishes itself readily after light to moderate forest disturbances like logging or fire. Primary form of establishment and reproduction is through vegetative spread. Natural seed production is low except when plants are exposed to light. Germination percentage of seed is also low (38% or less) and is unaffected by germination treatments.