||Native warm-season (C4) grasses grow well in acid soils, are more efficient in the use of water and P, and maintain growth at higher temperatures than cool-season (C3) grasses. These characteristics, combined with their wide range of adaptation and ability to be productive during hot summer months when cool-season grasses are relatively unproductive, has increased the use of native warm-season grasses for pasture and hay in the central and the eastem USA during the past 20 yr. Native warm-season grasses also are widely grown for erosion control and wildlife habitat. They have been planted on several million hectares of marginal and erosive cropland, roadsides, waterways, railroad and other right-of-ways, and reclamation sites. They comprise the dominant plant species on extensive areas of rangeland within the tallgrass prairie region.
Proper fertilization is an important management tool for improving stand establishment and increasing forage production and quality of native warm-season grasses. Fertilization at the wrong time or with the wrong nutrients is economically inefficient, can lead to stand degradation through invasion of undesirable plant species, and may cause environmental degradation through contamination of surface and groundwater. The purpose of this chapter is to review the response of native warm-season grasses to fertilization and present some general management guidelines for efficient fertilization of these grasses.