Most grasses are annual or perennial herbs with fibrous roots and, often, rhizomes. The stems are always noded and are typically hollow and swollen at the nodes. The leaves have two parts, a sheath and a blade, and the flower is of a unique form, the inflorescence being subdivided into spikelets each containing one or more tiny florets. Grasses are used in forage production, for turf and landscaping purposes, wildlife habitat, erosion control, as well as in many different ways. Click (V) for varieties.
Fescue - Perennial grass used for haying, grazing, and for pastures. Fescue is also ideal for waterways, ditches, and pond banks. Available in endophyte, endophyte-free, and beneficial endophyte varieties. Endophyte infected varieties are more aggressive and grow better in poor soils, but can have adverse effects on livestock. (V)
Orchardgrass - Orchardgrass is a bunch-type grass used primarily for hay production although the newer varieties are holding up very well under managed grazing. Combined with legumes and/or other grasses, orchardgrass is a staple in forage production. (V)
Ryegrass - Ryegrasses are cataloged into 4 categories. Annuals - 6 to 8 months, Italians - 6 to 15 months, Intermediates - 2 to 3 years, Perennials - 3 to 5 years. Ryegrasses are high energy, easily digestible grasses that are best suited for grazing or high moisture harvest. Ryegrass is designated as being either a diploid or a tetraploid. Diploids have half the chromosomes as a tetraploid does. Tetraploids retain more moisture, the leaves are shinier, and typically grow faster than diploids. Diploids normally are hardier plants, slower in production, and have a longer life span than tetraploids. (V)
Kentucky Bluegrass - Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most common species in natural pastures of the US. It is highly palatable, and spreads through rhizomes to form a sod and thus is very persistent under heavy grazing. This feature makes Kentucky bluegrass highly suitable for horse pastures. (V)
Timothy - Timothy is a highly palatable bunchgrass that makes excellent horse-type hay. Used primarily in hay mixtures it can be seeded alone, although regrowth is slow. (V)
Bromegrass – Brome is a leafy, sod forming, cool season perennial grass. Brome spreads through rhizomes that works well for hay and pasture as well as erosion control. A large, light weight seed can make brome more difficult to seed than other grass varieties. In hay situations, 80% of yearly production come with first cutting.
Reed Canarygrass– Reed Canarygrass is a long lived, sod forming, perennial grass that can be very productive. This grass has an impressive rhizamatous root system and is a heavy fertilizer user leading it to work well in erosion and field filter situations, as well as forage production. (V)
Redtop - Redtop is a common grass that can be found throughout the Midwest. Used in hay production and pasture, it forms a thick sod. Redtop has a fibrous root system that produces rhizomes. This is a grass that prefers moist conditions.