Warm-Season Grasses That Handle Low pH Soils and Hot, Dry Conditions

Warm-season grasses get their label because their primary growth comes in mid-summer. They can tolerate higher temps, and have good digestibility (65 percent digestible), so they are a great complement to cool-season grasses in your pasture. When managed properly, warm-season grass hay can provide good quality forage, especially for beef cattle and can be cut for hay. Here are some varieties you might consider for your pasture. Be sure to review establishment requirements as warm-season grass establishment and management requirements are quite different from cool-season grasses. Adapted Varieties Switchgrass is a tall growing, bunch grass which tolerates poorly drained soils, flooding, and perched water tables better than other warm-season grasses. With proper management, stands in Pennsylvania have remained productive for 20 years. Varieties of switchgrass used in Pennsylvania are Blackwell and Cave-In-Rock. Blackwell and Cave-In-Rock are highly productive varieties that head in early and mid summer, respectively. Trailblazer, a variety selected for increased digestibility and palatability, does not persist well under Pennsylvania conditions. Big bluestem is a tall growing, bunch grass that is more drought tolerant than other warm-season grasses and thus is better adapted to excessively drained soils with low water-holding

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