Name: V&O (Vineyard & Orchard) Short Brome type 1 (Bromus subvelutinus)
Habit: A patented, short-statured drought-resistant perennial California native bunchgrass improved through selection. More than 15 years of selection to improve drought-resistance and perennialness.
V&O Short Brome type 1 is a narrow-bladed caespitose grass that stays green all summer long without watering, changing from green to sage-green as it remains in suspended animation through California's summer drought. V&O Brome type 1 remains in dormancy until the autumn rains restart its growth cycle, and then it grows to a height of less than eight inches by May, at which time it starts back into its dormant cycle.
Habitat: V&O Short Brome type 1 has been selected for the California coast range valleys along the Highway 101 corridor from Mendocino county to Santa Barbara. It does well in either full sun or part shade as a perennial groundcover, thriving best in alluvial valley floors.
Culture: V&O Short Brome type 1 is best direct seeded as an individual species, not in a mix. As with all grass establishment, the proper soil preparation , sowing, and proper seedling density results in a successful weed-free ground cover.
Fertilization is not necessary, other than the initial application when seeds are sown, and should be based on soil tests. Seedlings can get established over winter through early spring with natural rainfall, or in autumn or late spring with artificial irrigation.
Mowing only needs to be done once a year in late spring or early summer, if desired. We recommend mowing the first year to control biennial exotic forbs. No mowing is required if native forb establishment occurs or if native forbs or wildflowers have been sown in, but it is best to sow the native forb/wildflower component in the second year.
Field tests: This grass selection is unique: No other grass will remain green and as low-growing under California's drought conditions; or remain as weed-free and have the ease of establishment and low-maintenance. We will be pleased to know of any other drought resistant ground-cover type grasses that can be suggested for comparison testing. Fire resistance has been measured based on pyrometer tests. Our grass has the lowest flammable biomass of any perennial non-irrigated groundcover in California, with only 100 pounds of thatch produced per acre per year.
Uses: V&O (Vineyard & Orchard) Short Brome type 1 is suitable for roadsides, vineyards, orchards, around homes and wildlands, providing a non-irrigated fire barrier. It is the lowest-growing ground cover that remains green during California's summer without water. The photo was taken above in October 1998 of a stand which had been mowed once in late spring and had received no water all summer.
Contact: Craig C. Dremann, The Reveg Edge, Box 609, Redwood City, CA. 94064 USA. Phone (650) 325-7333 email
Copyrights and trademarks: Copyright © 1998 by Craig and Sue Dremann. "V&O", "Vineyard and Orchard," "The Reveg Edge" and "Low-growing with only one mowing" are trademarks of Craig and Sue Dremann.