Grazing North Texas: Carolina Jointtail Grass

By Tony Dean

Carolina jointtail grass is a native, warm-season, perennial, rhizomatous grass. It grows between one and three and one-half feet tall. Leaves are between eight and 14 inches in length, with the basal leaves being shorter than those higher on the stem.

The seed head is cylindrical, slightly curved, and two to six inches long. It resembles a tail and easily breaks apart at the individual joints. Carolina jointtail grass can be found in the Southeast states from Texas to Florida.

It is very seldom found in pure stands or in abundance enough in a pasture to be considered a key species, but rather is usually scattered throughout the plant community.

It prefers well drained soils. Carolina jointtail grass starts growth in early spring, produces seed heads in May and June, and seeds disseminate in early summer. It reproduces from short, bulb-shaped rhizomes.

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