Dactylis glomerata* (Orchardgrass)

Cool season, long-lived, perennial bunchgrass found on a wide variety of sites, including acidic soils but not adapted to saline soils. Highly productive and palatable to livestock and wildlife. Predominantly used as a forage grass for pasture and hay production, though at times is used for erosion control on disturbed sites. Compatible in mixes with legumes and other forage grasses. Various varieties available.


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Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Introduced

Season: Cool season

Growth Form: Bunchgrass

Mature Height: 36 in.

Annual Precipitation: ≥12 in.

Drought Tolerance: Medium

Shade Tolerance: Tolerant


Wetland Indicator Status: FACU

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: Medium


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: Medium

CaCO3 Tolerance: Low

pH Range: 5.8-7.5


Seeds per Pound: 427,200

Seeding Rate: 4-10 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Spring/Fall

Days to Germination:


Crown Royale - High yielding, high quality, long-lived, variety with excellent seedling vigor. Tillers better than other varieties, so there is less clumping. Leaf and stem rust resistant. Quick to recover after grazing or mowing. Both shade and drought tolerant. Late maturing, similar to Latar and Pennlate. 

Latar - A leafy variety which produces high quality forage, very high in digestibility due to its low fiber content. Is in the pre-bloom stage when alfalfa is ready to be cut, which is optimum timing for making high quality hay. Late-maturing. (Released 1957)

Paiute - Developed as a forage crop for arid rangelands in the west. Persists on sites with only 12 inches of annual precipitation, however, it produces best on sites having at least 16 inches of annual precipitation. Paiute is known to green up early and remain green longer than other commonly used strains. Early maturing. (Released 1983)

Pennlate - High yielding with excellent disease resistance and great forage quality. Quick recovery after cutting and some drought tolerance. Somewhat winter hardy. Late maturing, compatible with alfalfa. (Released 1957)

Potomac - Potomac was selected for vigorous growth, rust resistance, leafiness and persistence. It is commonly seeded into irrigated pastures throughout the United States and abroad. Medium maturing. (Released 1954)

Profile - High yielding variety selected for vigor, heat and drought tolerance, leafiness, winter hardiness, and disease resistance. Deep rooted. Use in irrigated or dryland production. Highly palatable. Early-medium maturing. 

Tekapo - A unique orchardgrass with a very low crown and a dense prostrate growth habit, allowing it to be grazed to near ground level; especially well-suited for sheep and horse grazing. Produces dense stands which are able to persist even under hard, continuous grazing. Winter hardy. Medium-late maturing.