Livestock: Orchardgrass may be used for hay, pasture or silage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. Orchardgrass is one of the best forage grasses for use in pastures and in combination with alfalfa or red clover for hay.
Erosion control: Because of its dense network of roots, orchardgrass provides good erosion control on those soils to which it is particularly adapted.
Wildlife: Orchardgrass is used in grass-legume mixes for nesting, broad rearing, escape and winter cover for upland game birds and conservation plantings.
Under irrigation and higher rainfall areas, orchardgrass should be cut at boot stage for the first cutting and then at 4 to 6 week intervals depending on regrowth. Rotational grazing is best for production, persistence and quality. Fields should be grazed heavily and frequently during the spring, but do not overgraze. Leave a 3- to 4-inch stubble so plants can recover quickly. Heavy grazing during the late fall should be avoided to prevent depletion of root reserves. Under dry land conditions, orchardgrass should not be grazed until late summer or fall of the second growing season. The plants may be severely damaged by overgrazing especially in the seedling year. Use no more than 60% of the annual growth during the winter season or 50% during the growing season. This plant responds well to rotational grazing systems. Orchardgrass responds to good fertility management. One strategy, to even out the forage production, is to fertilize the stand after the first and second cutting or grazing to boost late spring and summer production.
Apply fertilizer based upon soil tests.
- Price: Call
- Seeding Rate (lbs per acre): 8-12
- Seeding Date: late fall or very early spring
- Seeds per Pound: 416,000
- Planting Depth: up to 1/2"
Note: For range and critical area treatment a seeding rate of 3 to 4 pounds/acre is recommended. If broadcast, double the seeding rate. Adjustments in seeding rate should be made when seeding in mixtures.