Smooth Brome

Biological Name:

Bromus inermis (Smooth-Brome)

Natural Habitat:

Smooth-Brome: This plant is native to North America and can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and open woods.


Smooth-Brome also known as Bromus is a plant that is native to grassland and prairie regions of North America. It is an annual grass that can grow up to six feet tall and it has elongated leaves and small inconspicuous flowers that are typically green or yellow in color. The plant is often used as a forage crop for livestock and it is known for its ability to tolerate drought and cold temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is smooth brome invasive?
A: Smooth brome grass is an invasive species. Smooth brome grass prefers moist soils and sunny locations. It is found in degraded prairies, roadside ditches and moist, wooded areas. Considered invasive in many parts of North America.

Q: What kills smooth brome grass?
A: Glyphosate is the most common herbicide used to control smooth brome. Removal of old growth is critical for an effective chemical application.

Q: Is brome grass good for lawns?
A: Both brome species (Smooth and Downy) can act as weeds in high quality turf areas. Smooth brome has many desirable characteristics to function as a useful turfgrass species; however, its poor density limits the use to low-maintenance areas.

Q: How do you control brome grass?
A: The key to control is having fall rains to germinate downy brome seeds and then killing these plants before seeding early spring crops. A glyphosate application followed by tillage 7 to 15 days later or glyphosate followed by no-tillage are effective control methods.

Q: Is smooth brome good for horses?
A: Brome hay is highly digestible with relative feed values (RFV) typically around 90-100 and a good balance of minerals. You can expect protein levels to be greater than 8%. This, combined with its superb palatability makes brome an excellent all around hay. Horses LOVE brome!

Q: What is the most digestible hay for horses?
A: Timothy hay is a popular choice because of its easy digestibility and may be more suitable for certain life stages. However, alfalfa hay has a higher calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, which makes it unsuitable for younger horses. Timothy hay has a balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.

Q: Is smooth brome annual or perennial?
A: Bromus inermis, Smooth Brome, is a leafy, sod-forming, perennial, cool season grass that spreads by rhizomes. The stems vary in height from 2 to 4 feet. The plant produces numerous basal and stem leaves that vary in length from 4 to 10 inches.

Q: How do you control brome?
A: Prevent unnecessary seed spread.Consider not combining with rest of crop.Remove affected straw from fields.Do not use straw for livestock bedding.Clean obvious weed seed from combine before moving fields.

Q: How tall does smooth brome grow?
A: This leafy and sod-forming perennial spreads aggressively through both seeds and rhizomes. It grows 15 to 30 inches high and flowers during late spring and early summer in an open panicle (Figure 1).

Q: Is smooth brome native to North America?
A: Native Distribution: Throughout most of North America, except parts of far north; least common in southeastern United States. Native Habitat: Roadsides, fields, pastures, nursery plots, and waste places.

Q: Is smooth brome edible?
A: This is an edible plant. It has a similar taste to a dark green lettuce.

Q: Can you cut brome twice a year?
A: The short answer to whether or not you should cut grasses a second time is a simple no.

Q: What is brome grass good for?
A: Brome Grass is a common forage grass used in North America. It may be used for hay, pasture, silage or stockpiling. It is compatible with alfalfa or other adapted legumes. Brome Grass is highly palatable and is high in protein content and relatively low in crude-fiber content.

Q: What is the difference between meadow brome and smooth brome?
A: Rhizomes of meadow brome are much shorter than those of smooth brome. Because of this, smooth brome is commonly a better choice for erosion control plantings. Wildlife: Meadow brome is used in grass-legume mixes for nesting, broad rearing, escape and winter cover in upland wildlife and conservation plantings.

Q: What is smooth brome used for?
A: Smooth brome is excellent for the control of soil erosion and is used widely for rehabilitation of rangeland for purposes including forage production, wildlife habitat, landscape beautification, cover for recreational areas and campgrounds, roadside seedings, and for watershed stabilization.

Q: How long does brome grass last?
A: Because smooth brome stands can remain productive for 20 years or longer, correcting soil pH prior to seeding is essential.

Q: How long does it take for brome grass to grow?
A: This information can be found on our website at the specific product page. For most grasses, this is about 3-6 weeks after planting, but could be longer depending on growing conditions.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.