Orchardgrass is a bunch grass that exhibits reproductive growth of 2-4′ in height and vegetative growth from 6-18″. Orchardgrass is an old reliable standby in many parts of the U.S. It is more heat and drought tolerant than most cool season grasses, and thus produces more feed during the summer. Orchardgrass can produce high quality, high yielding feed if harvested in a timely fashion (ideally late boot stage to early bloom). If it is harvested in seed production, the forage quality drops rapidly.
Some of the older varieties, such as Potomac and Penn late have given Orchardgrass a bad reputation for getting diseased in late summer, being clumpy, heading out too early in spring, and not being palatable. Our varieties are far more palatable than most of the older varieties, and also later heading! Orchardgrass is suited for light to medium textured soils due to its outstanding drought tolerance. Orchardgrass will do well in areas with less than ideal fertility and moisture, but is not adapted for very wet areas. Varieties have varying degrees of winter-hardiness. The species is rather slow to establish but has good persistency if managed properly. Orchardgrass is ideal for hay and/or grazing.