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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Cool-Season Perennials vs Cool-Season Annuals Sod Seeded into a Bermudagrass Sward1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 3, p. 381-383
    Received: Aug 20, 1973

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  1. A. M. Decker,
  2. H. J. Retzer and
  3. F. R. Dudley2



‘Midland’ bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pets.) is an excellent producer of summer forage in Maryland, but this advantage of high summer yields is reduced by a relatively short growing season in the northern edge of the bermudagrass belt. Coolseason annuals sod seeded into bermudagrass to extend the pasture season are well documented. However, this requires a seeding each fall which adds to production costs. Theoretically, cool-season perennials could be substituted for these annuals to eliminate this annual expense.

The present study compared total forage yields and forage distribution of bermudagrass sod seeded with cool-season annuals [rye (Secale cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth)] vs cool-season perennials [orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), tall rescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and crown. vetch (Coronilla varia L.)].

Although the perennials significantly increased total forage yields, production was highest when annuals were seeded. It was difficult to maintain uniform mixtures of cool- and warm-season perennials in the same field. The annuals were superior primarily because competition between bermudagrass and the cool-season perennials was much greater than that between bermudagrass and the cool-season annuals.

When hairy vetch was seeded with the cereals, yields were increased; at the same time, forage distribution and quality were improved with only half as much nitrogen.

When all factors are considered, bermudagrass plus sod-seeded, cool-season annuals was superior to bermudagrass plus sod-seeded, cool-season perennials.

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