Sideoats grama is a native, warm-season, perennial, mid grass with short scaly underground stems. Growth begins in early April and the seed stalks which appear from July to September are from 18 to 36 inches in height. The small oatlike seeds hang down uniformly on one side of the seed stem as indicated by the name "sideoats" (see illustration).
Sideoats is the most widely distributed of the grama grasses and is found throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. It grows on well-drained uplands, shallow ridges, and rocky areas, but may be found on soils ranging from deep to very shallow. This grass produces high-quality, nutritious, green forage that is readily eaten by all classes of livestock. Sideoats will increase and tend to replace taller grasses on ranges that are abused. However, it will also gradually decrease if continually grazed closer than 2 to 3 inches during the growing season.
Sideoats grama is a good seed producer and can be harvested with a small grain combine. The combined seed has been successfully planted in pure stands and mixtures with other adopted grasses on thousands of acres of formerly cultivated land. A seeding rate of 15 to 25 pounds an acre is generally recommended. The desirable rate depends upon the quality of seed and upon the other grasses used in the mixture. Seedling vigor of sideoats grama is good, and failure to obtain a satisfactory stand seldom occurs if minimum care is used in seedbed preparation and seeding. This grass is considered excellent for conservation use and responds to nitrogen fertilizer for increased seed and forage production.
Portions copyright "Pasture and Range Plants", Phillips Petroleum Company, 1963