orchard grass

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orchard grass



widely distributed perennial grass (Dactylis glomerata) native to Eurasia and N Africa and extensively naturalized in the United States. It is cultivated as a hay grass more tolerant of drought and shade than timothy but less winter-hardy. A variety with silvery-striped leaves is grown as an ornamental. Orchard grass is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Poaceae.

Orchard Grass


(Dactylis glomerata), a perennial grass of the family Gramineae. It is an apical, loosely bushy grass forming tall, leafy stalks (about 100 cm) with many long, soft, radical leaves. It may be found in natural grass stands all over Europe and in some parts of Asia. It is widely distributed in the forest-steppe and steppe zones and in the mountain regions of the USSR, with the exception of the southern Crimea, the Buriat ASSR, Yakut ASSR, and the Far East. Orchard grass is a shade-loving plant, and thus grows especially abundantly in sparse forests, glades, areas of felled timber, and on forest edges. It grows predominantly in fertile loose soils rich in nitrogen and is sensitive to excess moisture.

Orchard grass, a valuable fodder plant, was first cultivated in the 19th century. On well fertilized meadows, two mowings yield 60–70 centners of good hay from one hectare. It is a good animal feed both in pasture and in the form of hay. During the flowering phase 100 kg of green forage contains 22.7 feed units and 2.1 kg of digestible protein; 100 kg of hay contains 55 feed units and 4.5 kg of digestible protein. Orchard grass grows back quickly after mowing or grazing. It is sown both in grass mixtures and alone. In grass mixtures the usual sowing is 5 to 8 kg per ha (as much as 8 to 10 kg in mountain regions); in pure sowings it is 18–20 kg per ha. When orchard grass is grown for seeds, the seeding rate in solid planting is 14 kg and in wide-row planting, 8 kg. Orchard grass reaches full development in its third year and may grow five to six years or longer in a grass stand.

The seed yield is 2 centners from one ha (sometimes up to 5 or 6 centners). The weight of 1,000 seeds is 1.2 g. Regional varieties of orchard grass include Dedinovskaia 4, lygeva 220, Krasnodarskaia 20, Priekul’skaia 30, Leningradskaia 853, and Khutorskaia.


Kormovye rasteniia senokosov i pastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.