| ||Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers
- In Western Canada most tame grass species are cool season species or C3 plants. Optimum growth occurs at temperatures between 18C to 24C.
- Warm season grasses or C4 plants perform best at temperatures between 28C and 32C. Introduced grass species such as millet or corn plus some native species are considered to be C4 plants.
- Grasses offer adaptability and flexibility to environmental conditions. Grass species vary in their tolerance to flooding, drought, heat, cold, salinity, acidity and alkalinity. These factors need to be considered when selecting forage species.
- Grasses can be categorized as being either annuals or perennials. Perennial grasses can be further divided into either long-lived or short-lived species. Well established long-lived species can form permanent forage stands.
- The root system of grass is fibrous and is either rhizomatous or bunch in nature. Rhizomatous grasses spread and form a dense stand while bunch grasses remain as individual plants. Bunch grasses are less competitive in forage mixtures than rhizomatous grass species.
- Rooting depth also varies between species. Some species such as blue grass have shallow rooting depths while more drought tolerant species such as smooth brome have a higher proportion of their roots distributed deep within the soil profile.
- Perennial grasses normally replace 25 to 50 percent of their roots annually. New root growth is hampered if to much leaf area is removed during the growing season to frequently.
- Grasses grow differently. Some species tiller more actively and keep more leaf area near the soil surface with most of the seasonal growth as vegetative stems. This growth characteristic permits these species to tolerate more frequent grazing or clipping and still provide rapid re-growth. These species are referred to as short -jointed grasses.
- Other species produce mainly reproductive stems. These species are referred to as long-jointed grasses and are more sensitive to frequent clipping or grazing. As a result, these species are best suited to hay production or for use as seasonal pasture.
- Mixed stands of grasses or legumes are more stable as a sward than single specie stands. Where one specie suffers, another specie is better suited. This is particularly important in long term stands that need to produce well for many days in the growing season.
- Straight stands are best suited when the grower's expectations are specific and for short times. The most suitable specie is then able to perform under that particular management program for the specific goal.
- Fall management is critical in perennial grasses when plants are storing carbohydrates and developing new growing points. Without stored energy new spring growth is delayed and plants are less vigorous. Late summer grazing or cutting should be timed in order to provide a fall rest period.
- Some species initiate growth earlier in the spring. This aspect is especially important for early season grazing or for capturing maximum sunlight energy throughout the growing season as a whole.
- Growth curve differences exist amongst grass species. Grasses vary in the time required from first emergence to final seed set. Those grasses that have a long growth curve are easier to harvest especially when grazing. Long growth curves allow the grass to grow longer vegetatively compared to having quickly reached the objective of setting seed.
- Grass species differ in palatability. Because of taste and texture, some species are more palatable longer into their life cycle. This aspect is critical where graziers bank forage for eventual consumption later in the fall and winter.
- Some species utilize moisture better than others. Because of fundamental physiological differences, some species are better able to grow and reproduce under low levels of moisture compared to others. The nature of the roots and the leaf surface are two features that affect a species ability to thrive under heat, cold, drought or flooding.
AC Admiral Meadow Bromegrass - available in PDF format only
AC Armada Meadow Bromegrass - available in PDF format only
AC Saltlander - available in PDF format only
Altai Wild Ryegrass
Annual Rye Grass for Stored Feed and Pasture
Common Plants of the Western Rangelands - Volume 1: Grasses and Grass-like Species
Forage Adaptation Chart - available in PDF format only
Grass Growth and Response to Grazing
How Pasture Plants Grow
Identification of Common Seeded Plants for Forage and Reclamation in Saskatchewan - available in PDF format only
Index of Kansas State Grass Key Images
Managing Crested Wheat Grass Pastures - available in PDF format only - -
Pasture Grasses Identified
Prairie Grasses: Identified and described by vegetative characters
Prairie Grasses: The Grass Plant
Producing annual ryegrasses for pasture, silage and seed - available in PDF format only
Russian Wildrye for Pasture
Saskatchewan - Invasive Plant Species Identification Guide - available in PDF format only
Timothy productivity and forage qualtiy - possibilities and limitations - Akureyi, Iceland - available in PDF format only
UC SAREP Online Cover Crop Database
University of Lethbridge Herbarium
Agronomic characteristics and nutritive value of 11 grasses grown with irrigation on a saline soil in southwestern Saskatchewan - available in PDF format only
Altai Wild Rye: A Seed Production Review - availabile in PDF format only
Comparison of meadow fescue and meadow bromegrass in monoculture and in association with white clover - available in PDF format only
Crested Wheat Grass Seed Production: A Literature Review - available in PDF format only
Early seedling growth and forage production of dipoid and tetraploid crested wheatgrass and Russian wildrye cultivars - available in PDF format only
Effects of water and nitrogen on seed production of creeping red fescue
Etiolated growth of hybrid bromegrass (Bromus inermis x B. riparius) compared with smooth brome grass, meadow bromegrass, crested wheatgrass and tall fescue under grazed and nongrazed conditions - available in PDF format only
Growth and forage quality of three Bromus species native to western Canada - available in PDF format only
Harvest management and N-fertilization effects on protein yield, protein content and nitrogen use efficiency of smooth bromegrass, crested wheatgrass and meadow bromegrass - available in PDF format only
Herbage productivity and nutritive value of nine grasses in the Peace River region of northwestern Canada - available in PDF format only
Herbage yield and cattle preference for dryland pasture grasses - available in PDF format only
Herbage yield and composition of Kentucky bluegrass (poa pratensis L.) cultivars under two harvest systems - available in PDF format only
Improving the Nutritive Value of Timothy through Management and Breeding - available in PDF format only
Intermediate Wheat Grass Seed Production: A Literature Review - available in PDF format only
Kayak Orchardgrass - available in PDF format only
Kentucky Blue Grass: A Seed Production Review
Leaf and Stem Mass Characteristics of Cool-Season Grasses Grown in the Canadian Parkland - available in PDF format only
Leaf and stem nutritive value of timothy cultivars of different maturity at an irrigated site in southwestern Saskatchewan - available in PDF format only
Leaf epicuticular wax and glaucousness in Altai wildrye grass: which trait is most important to water status?
Phenotypic variation of side-oats grama grass [Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.)Torr.] collections from the Canadian Prairie - available in PDF format only
Potential of Forages to Diversify the Northen Great Plains Cropping Systems - A Review - available in PDF format only
Russian Wild Rye - A Literature Review - available in PDF format only
Russian wild rye nutritive quality as affected by accession and the environment - available in PDF format only
Smooth Brome Grass Seed Production: A Literature Review - available in PDF format only
Tom, Russian wildrye - available in PDF format only
Water Relations in Cool Season Grasses - available in PDF format only
Yield and nutritive value of irrigated tall fescue compared with orchardgrass: In monocultures or mixed with alfalfa - available in PDF format only
Yield and nutritive value of the spring growth of an ageing timothy sward
Yield, herbage composition, and tillering of timothy cultivars under grazing - available in PDF fomat only