Sand Bluestem

sand bluestem

Scientific name

Andropogon hallii Hack.


Sand Bluestem is a native, perennial, warm season bunchgrass which can reach heights of up to 7 feet.  Sand bluestem reproduces by both seed and rhizomes.  Sand Bluestem is considered a poor seed producer in its native habitat and spreads mainly by rhizomes. Sand Bluestem occurs on native prairies west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico.  Sand Bluestem is considered an important part of the prairie and is generally used in all sandy land native mixes.  Forage production is good to excellent in quality and when heavily grazed it will decrease in relation to most other species.  Breediing efforts have resulted in varieties with improvements in seedling vigor, seed production, and forage production.

Plant Taxonomy

 Kingdom      Plantae
 Subkingdom  Tracheobionta
 Superdivision  Spermatophyta
 Division    Magnoliophyta
 Class   Lillosida
 Subclass   Commelinidae
 Order   Cyperales
 Family   Poaceae
 Genus    Andropogon
 Species   Andropogon hallii Hack

Plant Characteristics of Sand Bluestem

 Height  60 to 84 inches
 Growth habit  bunchgrass
 Bloom period  mid summer
 Sun requirement  full sun
 Leaf foilage color  green to bluish-green
 Seeds per pound  100,000
 Minimum soil temperature for germination  50 to 55 ºF
 Soil pH range  5.6 to 8.4
 Planting Rate  1 PLS lb/2000 sq ft or 16 PLS lb/acre
 Planting Depth  ¼ to ½ inch
 Planting season  March to May

Uses of Sand Bluestem

Erosion Control

Sand Bluestem is used extensively in soil conservation because its adaptation to sand and extension root system.


Sand Bluestem is a good to excellent forage due to its high palatability and high yield.  Forage should be harvested prior to seedhead formation as palatability rapidly decreases once it reaches maturity which is true of most of native grasses.


Sand Bluestem is browsed by many wildlife species and provides nesting and cover for upland game birds.


Sand Bluestem makes an attract landscape plant in sandy type soils.  Its ability to tolerate stresses makes it very desirable as a low-maintenance species.

Commercially Available Cultivars of Sand Bluestem


2004 by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in cooperation with the Oklahoma Agricultural Experimental Station and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service:  Dr. Tim Springer, Southern Plains Research Station, Woodward, OK.


1955, cooperatively by Oklahoma and Kansas Experiment Stations and Plant Science Research Division.

Sand Bluestem Seedling and Growth Guide

8 days after planting

18 days after planting                                                                  28 days after planting

34 days after planting                                                             65 days after planting