Common Bentgrass is a perennial grass with fine leaves, The seed head is delicate and attractive, opening loosely from late spring through to autumn. Older swards in heavily grazed or trampled areas may form dense, low growing clumps.
Originally a native of the Mediterranean region, it has been cultivated for many years for its yellowish seed and more recently to provide cover for game birds.
A densely tufted, bluish green species, it can grow up to 1 metre in height and can create tussocks. The dense one sided panicle is said to resemble the shape of a cocks foot.
Creeping Red Fescue
Often known as Strong Red Fescue, this common grass, as its name implies, has creeping rhizomes . It has a more vigorous creeping habit than some similar species which can help to create a dense, hardwearing turf or sward. These shallow creeping roots help it to remain green even in drier soils.
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Traditionally a grazing grass, which helps to fill out the base of the sward. This compact tufted perennial is found in abundance in sheep pastures. It is not aggressive and grows well late into the season when other grasses are giving up. It has good winter greenness but is inclined to produce wiry stems if not cut or grazed.
Dwarf / Turf Perennial Ryegrass
Dwarf ryegrass is a specifically bred strain of perennial ryegrass, selected for its shorter growth habit and its ability to produce low growing tillers and subsequently a thicker sward than standard ryegrass species.
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Festulolium is a natural hybridisation of ryegrass and fescue species, combining the stress resistant genes of fescue with the bulky yield of ryegrass. To provide a more resilient species, with a better tolerance of drought or water logged soils, while still providing high yielding, very palatable forage.
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This form of ryegrass is perhaps one of the best grasses available to the intensive farmer. The hybrid ryegrass is a cross between the Italian and perennial forms of ryegrass and shares characteristics of both. The dominant parent determines how the variety performs in the field. Most hybrid varieties are dominant with Italian genes and the best cultivars provide the same or similar high yields as Italian ryegrass. But as they also contain some of the persistent genes of the perennial ryegrass parent they last longer. This longer lasting and high yielding silage grass has one further advantage: the genes of the perennial ryegrass parent produces a plant with more tillers and more leaf which gives increased ground cover, making them better for aftermath grazing.
This is a short lived grass lasting for two years. It is very high yielding and reliably provides up to 18t DM per hectare on soils that suit it. (All ryegrasses yield less on light soils, especially in low rainfall areas.) It has a very open growth habit with fewer tillers than other grasses. It is therefore better suited to cutting than grazing. Italian ryegrass has been the subject of plant breeding for many years, which means there are a wide range of varieties available commercially.
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One of the larger fescues this is a valuable grazing grass which can also be made into hay. Recent thinking has altered the Latin so that the flat leaved fescues (meadow fescue and tall fescue) have been given their own genus, separate from the finer leaved fescues.
A tufted perennial which is widespread throughout the British Isles. It is commonly found in low lying areas, particularly in river meadows. It is noted as one of the earliest growing grasses in the spring.
Perennial ryegrass is the most commonly grown productive grass in the UK, used particularly for livestock grazing and forage. It has been the subject of plant breeding for over 60 years, ensuring there are a wide range of perennial ryegrass varieties available commercially.
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Red Fescue / Chewings Fescue
Also known as chewings fescue, this is a fine leaved, tufted grass. It is distinguished from creeping red fescue by its absence of creeping rhizomes. It remains dark green throughout most of the season.
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Reed Canary Grass
This is a perennial grass species, with creeping roots (Rhizomes). In some parts of the world such as America and Canada, the species may be grown for livestock forage. In the UK reed canary grass is generally used to provide cover for farmland birds or game cover.
Rough Stalked Meadow Grass
Rough stalk meadow grass is a very common species throughout the UK and Europe. It can be found in lowland pastures, river meadows and waste ground. Recognisable from its tufted habit and erect culms. It is generally leafy towards the base, and will fill out the bottom of the sward as it tolerates partial shading.
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The finest leaved and least aggressive fescue, it is found throughout the UK. It is hardy and drought resistant and will with-stand heavy grazing or close cutting, however it has a low forage yield. It is a useful species for providing a low growing, low maintenance green cover on difficult soils. It is one of the earlier fine fescues to flower in the spring.
Slender Creeping Red Fescue
This densely tufted or mat forming species has a creeping growth habit, sending out rhizomes. It can form a close turf with bristle like, dark green, glossy leaves. It has uses in agricultural and amenity situations.
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Smaller Catstail / Small Timothy
A leafy perennial species found throughout the UK. It grows on low lands to foothills and can be found in old pasture and hedgerows. Normally thought of as a smaller, lower yielding relative of Timothy. Although valued as a forage plant for livestock, it can also form a useful compact turf.
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Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass
Found throughout the UK in meadows and traditional pastures. It is said to be one of the greenest grasses found growing in the early spring, and is an indicator of land that is well drained and in good heart. The species itself is palatable, and nutritional to livestock, often called one of the traditional 'sweet grasses'.
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Sweet Vernal Grass
An early flowering grass, strongly scented with coumarin, when cut as part of a hay crop it is this plant that gives hay its sweet smell. It is an adaptable plant, found growing in a wide range of habitats, with a high stem to leaf ratio.
Tall fescue is found throughout the UK, it has similar features to meadow fescue, however it is distinguished by being taller, and coarser, with a rough upper leaf and margins. The well developed root system means it is tolerant of drought, damp and frost, which has created interest among plant breeders, looking to cross highly productive ryegrass and resilient fescue species as festuloliums. Recent thinking has altered the Latin so that the flat leaved fescues (meadow fescue and tall fescue) have been given their own genus, separate from the finer leaved fescues.
Possibly the most important and flexible grass species which is used both environmentally and agriculturally. It is a very common species found in pasture throughout the UK. It retains its verdure longer than most grasses and although similar to smaller cats tail, it is larger in size with wider leaves and a longer spike like panicle.
Westerwolds is the highest yielding ryegrass with similar forage quality to the well known Italian ryegrass. This is an annual form of ryegrass which is very fast to establish, producing a silage crop just 12 weeks from sowing. It is the only grass to produce a stem and seed head from a spring sowing, making it suitable for the production of hay for horses, from a spring planting.
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