King Ranch Bluestem

king ranch bluestem weeds

Type of Weed: Grassy Weed

Bothriochloa ischaemum

King Ranch Bluestem

King Ranch (KR) bluestem is a warm-season, perennial grassy weed that is one of the most common roadside weeds in Texas.

Although this weed is fair grazing material for livestock, it does not provide a high level of nutritional value.

This invasive species is very dominate, extremely challenging to eradicate, and highly problematic for native grasses as well as animal diversity.

How to Identify

King Ranch bluestem grows in bunches with light green stems growing vertically up to 18-48 inches that turn a straw color over time. Each stem is topped with a seed head covered with red/purple silky hairs spiking out. This weed reproduces and spreads by seeds and via rhizomes/stolons.

Control Methods

Control Difficulty: Very Difficult

Due to the hardiness, dominance, and widespread presence of KR Bluestem, it is very challenging to eradicate. Mechanical control efforts such as pulling, plowing, and even burning only yield short-term removal results. There is also no KR Bluestem specific herbicide available.

The best chance of removing this weed for as long as possible is to plow/clear the area, apply Roundup®, and replant your turfgrass. Due to the fast return rate of this weed, you should always consult a professional lawn care company for best removal methods.

Prevention Tips

King Ranch Bluestem is widespread in Texas meaning most properties are vulnerable to the spread of this dominating invasive weed. However, keeping a healthy and well-maintained turf can aid in preventing a KR Bluestem invasion.

Not only will a strong turf be able to fight off the weed more successfully, but you’ll be able to spot invasive weeds early on your turf and take quick measures to fight it.
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