What is Lovegrass?

Sara Schmidt

Lovegrass belongs to the Poaceae family. These grasses are known for their delicate, wispy appearance. Scientifically known as Eragrostis, the genus consists of dozens of different species. Some species may be spiky rather than billowy.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Due to variations by species, lovegrass features dozens of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some plants are short and spiky, while others have broad, long spiked leaves that grow long and tall. The leaves and blades of these species are typically dark green to brown. Weeping varieties, which are green at the base and fade to white at the ends, fold over in a drooping, or weeping, position, creating a delicate pattern. Some species only grow slightly off the ground, while others can grow several feet high.

Lovegrass is considered a very easy-to-grow plant that requires little to no maintenance. Plants produce millions of seeds per pound, often self-propagating in many areas. Many varieties prefer full sunlight and slightly moist to dry soil or sandy loam for optimal growing conditions.

Planting should be completed in the early spring to early summer in well-drained soil. A depth of one quarter of an inch is recommended for planting the grass seed. Fertilizer can be used to help increase the size and growing rate of the grass if desired. Most of these species are very resistant to drought and can be left without water for lengthy periods of time.

Though some people consider these grasses as ornamental plants, others attempt to rid their property of them, dismissing lovegrass as a weed. This decision is largely based on the specific species. Weeping lovegrass, for example, is a very soft plant with thin, drooping blades that people enjoy using as a border grass. Hairy purple lovegrass, which can grow into an awkward brown ball, is often considered an invasive garden weed.

Eragrostis has many uses on farms, individual properties, and other areas. Erosion control is one of the most popular uses for the plant. Some farmers use lovegrass seeds as fodder for their livestock. They can also use it as a form of hay. Birds who nest on the ground often use the grasses for cover.

This genus is native to South Africa. During the 1920s, it was brought to North America. In the United States, the grass grows widely in the Southwest and Great Plains areas, such as New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. It can be found in gravel, sandy savanna regions, prairie fields, and on roadsides.

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