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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 73 No. 1, p. 101-106
    Received: June 3, 1980

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Yield and Composition of Orchardgrass, Tall Fescue, and Reed Canarygrass Mixtures1

  1. C. C. Sheaffer,
  2. A. W. Hovin and
  3. D. L. Rabas2



Mixtures of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinaceae L.) may provide yield and utilization advantages over monocultures. Our objectives were to determine the forage production and relative competitiveness of the three species grown alone and in binary and ternary mixtures.

In two field studies each at two locations, we compared orchardgrass (0) with reed canarygrass (R) seeded alone and in binary mixtures (Exp. 1) and orchardgrass, tall fescue (F), and reed canarygrass sown alone and in binary and ternary mixtures (Exp. 2). Species competitiveness was studied in the glasshouse where individual plants of orchardgrass, tall fescue and reed canarygrass were grown alone and in binary and ternary mixtures within circular rows 4, 8, 15, and 30 an from the center with 12 plants established per row and maintained at two soil moisture regimes.

Mixture yields were never significantly greater than those of reed canarygrass, generally the highest yielding species in monoculture. Yield differences between tall fescue and orchardgrass in monoculture were usually nonsignificant. Yields of mixtures containing reed canarygrass were generally not significantly different but were greater than O:F binary mixtures. In Exp. 1 and 2, yields of O:R and 0:F:R mixtures were significantly greater than those of orchardgrass in monoculture. Under low soil moisture conditions in the glasshouse and in the field, no significant mixture yield differences occurred, but in Exp. 2 with adequate soil moisture, reed canarygrass had significantly higher summer yields than did the two other species.

In field studies, orchardgrass seedlings were most aggressive at establishment; however, in Exp 2 reed canarygrass became the dominant species by the final harvest. In the glasshouse, orchardgrass became the most aggressive species by the final harvest. Tall fescue was the least competitive species in all studies. Mean yields of within- and alternate-row mixtures were not significantly different. Inclusion of reed canarygrass in mixtures with orchardgrass or tall fescue increases production particularly during the summer. If established successfully, reed canarygrass will become the predominant species in these mixtures.

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