Prairie Grasses

In the prairie country the tall grass falls into three sub. ,ions, or communities: the blue-stem sod, the blue-stem 1ch grass, and the needle grass and slender wheat grass. blue-stem sod is found in Illinois, Iowa, eastern Kansas, in parte of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, and in western Minnesota, eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The whole region is rich, and the central portion forms what is known as the corn belt.

The blue-stem bunch grass lies west of the blue-stem sod and extends along the boundary between the short and tall grass from Nebraska to Texas, having its best growtn in central Kansas and Oklahoma. The rainfall here is from twenty to thirty inches, and the soil mcisture is from two to four feet, with dry subsoil beneath. This is the great winterwheat region. The needle grass and the slender wheat grass grow in the northern Plains and in Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota. The rainfall ranges from eighteen to thirty inches. This region has become a part of the winter-wheat region.

The short, or Plains, grasses are the grama, galleta, buffalo, and mesquite. All these types occur west of the ninety-eighth meridian. The grama-grass area extends through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. It is by no means continuous, but occurs in the higher valleys and plateaus. “The grama-grass type marks the portion of the short-grass area which has the lowest evaporation and the coolest, shortest eeason, but which has a relatively low rainfall.” 1 The galletajass area lies south and west of the grama. It is found in northern New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The grama and ~uffalo grasses cover a wide belt extending from South Dakota along the boundary line of Wyoming and Nebraska, Colorado andKa nsas, and New Mexico and the Panhandle of both Oklahoma and Texas. The mesquite grass is classified as a desert grass. It grows in western Texas, in southern New Mexico, and in Arizona. It is a grass of summer rainfall, though it can lie dormant for long periods during summer, reviving with a little rain.

West of the grasslands lies the desert-shrub area, the intennountain region. This vegetation belongs to three general types : sagebrush, or northern-desert shrub ; creosote bush, or southern-desert shrub; greasewood, or salt-desert shrub. In all this region the desert type of vegetation prevails over the grassland. From the point of view of utilization, however, the whole region is closely akin to the Plains; that is, the problems of utilization are similar. In Texas the ninety-eighth meridian is generally accepted as a dividing line for both the floral and the faunal species.”