Scientific Name : Dactylis Glomerata L.
Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) is a perennial, cool season grass with flat leaf blades and compressed stem bases. Stems are erect, ranging from 1 to 4 feet (30 to 120 cm) in height. Leaves vary in color from green to bluish-green depending on cultivar. Leaves are1/10 to1/2 inch (2- 12 mm) wide and may reach a length of 3 feet (1 m). They are flat, sharply pointed, and V-shaped in cross sec tion. The lower surface of the leaf is not shiny and has a distinct keel. Leaf margins and leaf sheaths usually are somewhat rough to the touch when mature, although soft-leaved cultivars have been developed.
Area of Adaptation
In North America, orchardgrass is grown through much of the northeastern and north central United States and in the high rainfall and irrigated regions of the western mountains, the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and southern Alberta. Orchardgrass is adapted to well-drained soils and is tolerant of shade; its ability to grow under trees undoubtedly led to its common name. Orchardgrass will not survive in flooded or wet soil conditions but will tolerate moderately poor drainage. It can be grown with irrigation or on dryland areas having at least18 to 20 inches (500 mm) of precipitation.
Orchardgrass is grown for hay, green chop, silage, and pasture. It is compatible with many legumes (alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, and various clovers) and other grasses (perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, prairie grass, etc.). Pure stands or simple mixtures (one grass and one legume), however, are easiest to manage. With high levels of N fertility, orchardgrass is among the most productive cool-season grasses. It also has among the most even production distribution throughout the growing season when maintained under high fertility and adequate moisture levels.