• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 Parts of a grass plant
 Introduction
 Beaked panicums
 Chalky bluestem
 Creeping bluestem
 Cutgrass
 Eastern gamagrass
 Little blue maidencane
 Lopsided indiangrass
 Maidencane
 Switchgrass
 Toothachegrass
 Bottlebrush threeawn
 Broomsedge bluestem
 Bushybeard bluestem
 Carpet grass
 Cogongrass
 Knotroot bristlegrass
 Low panicums
 Sand cordgrass
 Torpedograss
 Vaseygrass
 Wiregrass
 Glossary
 Characteristics of common...
 Back Cover






Group Title: Circular - Florida Coopertive Extension Service - 956
Title: Florida range grasses impacting grazing management
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00014501/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida range grasses impacting grazing management
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 18 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mullahey, J. Jeffrey ( John Jeffrey )
Tanner, George Walden
Publisher: Florida Coopertive sic. Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: [1992]
 Subjects
Subject: Grasses -- Varieties -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Range management -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: J. Jeffrey Mullahey and George W. Tanner.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "April 1992."
Funding: Circular (Florida Cooperative Extension Service) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00014501
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001744443
oclc - 26241617
notis - AJF7200

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Acknowledgement
        Acknowledgement
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Parts of a grass plant
        Page i
    Introduction
        Page 1
    Beaked panicums
        Page 1
    Chalky bluestem
        Page 2
    Creeping bluestem
        Page 3
    Cutgrass
        Page 3
    Eastern gamagrass
        Page 4
    Little blue maidencane
        Page 5
    Lopsided indiangrass
        Page 6
    Maidencane
        Page 7
    Switchgrass
        Page 8
    Toothachegrass
        Page 8
    Bottlebrush threeawn
        Page 9
    Broomsedge bluestem
        Page 10
    Bushybeard bluestem
        Page 10
    Carpet grass
        Page 11
    Cogongrass
        Page 12
    Knotroot bristlegrass
        Page 12
    Low panicums
        Page 13
    Sand cordgrass
        Page 14
    Torpedograss
        Page 14
    Vaseygrass
        Page 15
    Wiregrass
        Page 16
    Glossary
        Page 17
    Characteristics of common grass
        Page 18
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text






April 1992 Circular 956


Florida Range Grasses


Impacting Grazing Management


J. Jeffrey Mullahey and George W. Tanner




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Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
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John T. Woeste, Dean


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April 1992


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Acknowledgments
Information on the 21 grasses in this publication was derived from Range Management For Important Na-
tive Grasses of Florida, by L.L. Yarlett, USDA-SCS, Illus. 168p (1987); and Important Range Grasses for
Evaluating Grazing Management, by George W. Tanner and Michael E. Drummond, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Circular 665, 1985. Definitions of words listed in the glossary are from Nebraska Range and
Pasture Grasses, by J. Stubbendieck, J.T. Nichols, and K.K. Roberts, University of Nebraska, Institute of.Ag-
riculture and Natural Resources, E.C. 85-170, 75p (1987). Also, the authors thank Sid Brantley, USDA-
SCS, and Lew Yarlett for assistance with photos and plant information.


J. Jeffrey Mullahey and George W. Tanner are Assistant Professor and Associate Professor, respectively, Department of Wildlife and
Range Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.











Table of contents


Parts of a grass plant ......................... ...............................................

Introduction ............. ............................................... ........... 1

Preferred Grasses
B e a ked pa n ic u m s . . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. .1
C ha lky b lueste m .. ... .. . .. . .. . . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . . 2
C ree ping bluestem ..... .................................................. .... .....3
C u tg ra s s . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . .3
E astern gam ag rass ... ............................................................4
Little blue m a idenca ne ....... ............................ ........................... ....... 5
Lopsided ind ia ng rass ............ ..................................... ......................6
M a id e n c a n e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Switchgrass ..................................................................... 8
T oothacheg rass ........ ........ ........................................................ 8

Nonpreferred Grasses
B ottle brush threeaw n ..................................... ......................... ........9
B room sedge bluestem .................................................................... 10
B ushybeard bluestem .............................................................10
C a rp e t g ra ss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 1
C o g o n g ra ss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2
K notroot b ristleg rass ..... ......... .................... .............................12
Lo w p a n ic u m s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
S a nd co rd g ra ss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
T o rp e d o g ra s s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
V a se yg ra ss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 5
W ire g ra s s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 6

Glossary .........................................................................17

C characteristics of com m on grasses ............. ...............................................18








The Grass Plant


Raceme


(Seed)


One Floret
Per Spilelet


Several Florets


Sterile "
Shoot


Panicle Spike


Collar
- Culm (Stem)


Sheath







- Leaf Blade


* Sheath







Crown


Ligule


Auricle


Veins


Node


Soil Surface


Rhizome









Introduction
This publication focuses on native and introduced
grass species with respect to their desirability and
grazing use on range pastures in Florida. Rangeland
covers 11,000,000 acres in Florida, and range
grasses are an important dietary component for live-
stock, especially the beef cow. Description of each
grass includes identification criteria, growth charac-
teristics, site adaptation, and value as forage to live-
stock. Some are highly desirable forage grasses (i.e.
preferred), whereas others are considered weeds (i.e.
nonpreferred).

Grazing management requires the rancher to un-
derstand plant growth and development in addition
to animal behavior. Cattle selectively graze from
forages present in range and/or pastures. Misman-
agement or over-grazing of range will result in the
preferred grass species decreasing in abundance.
Likewise, nonpreferred species increasesr, invaders)
will begin to increase in abundance, and productivity
of the range (carrying capacity) declines. However, if
a rancher manages for the preferred grasses, using a
controlled grazing system and range improvement
practices, range condition will be maintained and/or
improved. Therefore, the rancher must learn to
identify the preferred and nonpreferred grass species
present in rangelands.

Rangeland vegetation is not exclusively grasses.
Shrubs (woody plants), forbs (broadleaf plants), and
grass-like plants are also important. This publica-
tion is similar to Important Range Grasses for Evalu-
ating Grazing Management (Circular 665, Tanner
and Drummond; 1985) except the format was chang-
ed and additional information pertaining to manage-
ment of desirable grasses was included. Preferred
grasses are described on pages 1 through 9.
Nonpreferred grasses appear on pages 10 through
18. Definitions for terms used in "The Grass Plant"
figure are included in the glossary. Also, a flow
chart on the characteristics of all grasses was in-
cluded to provide a comprehensive overview for
quick reference.


Beaked panicums


Common name
Species

Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Beaked panicums
Panicum anceps; P. anceps
var. rhizomatum
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics


Type
Spikelets


Panicles 6 to 15 inches long
Usually 1/8 to 1/4 inch long,
set at an angle on the
pedicles or branchlets


Vegetative characteristics


Culm


Sheath
Blade



Ligule


2 to 4 feet tall, numerous
scaly rhizomes
Glabrous or hairy
1/4 to 1/2 inch wide; hairy
near the base; blades are
folded to somewhat V-
shaped
About 1/16 inch long


Site adaptations
Freshwater marshes and ponds
Cutthroat seeps

Growth and development
Growth begins during January in south Florida,
with vegetative growth concluding in July or Au-
gust. Seedheads appear in September, and plants
remain green until fall. All species produce abun-
dant seed, though plant reproduction is primarily
by rhizomes.

Forage value and uses
This preferred grass is selected by cattle from
early spring through late fall. Improper grazing
(over-grazing) will reduce the amount of beaked
panicums and encourage increase species such as
low panicums and broomsedge bluestem. Con-
trolled grazing during the summer, when forage









Introduction
This publication focuses on native and introduced
grass species with respect to their desirability and
grazing use on range pastures in Florida. Rangeland
covers 11,000,000 acres in Florida, and range
grasses are an important dietary component for live-
stock, especially the beef cow. Description of each
grass includes identification criteria, growth charac-
teristics, site adaptation, and value as forage to live-
stock. Some are highly desirable forage grasses (i.e.
preferred), whereas others are considered weeds (i.e.
nonpreferred).

Grazing management requires the rancher to un-
derstand plant growth and development in addition
to animal behavior. Cattle selectively graze from
forages present in range and/or pastures. Misman-
agement or over-grazing of range will result in the
preferred grass species decreasing in abundance.
Likewise, nonpreferred species increasesr, invaders)
will begin to increase in abundance, and productivity
of the range (carrying capacity) declines. However, if
a rancher manages for the preferred grasses, using a
controlled grazing system and range improvement
practices, range condition will be maintained and/or
improved. Therefore, the rancher must learn to
identify the preferred and nonpreferred grass species
present in rangelands.

Rangeland vegetation is not exclusively grasses.
Shrubs (woody plants), forbs (broadleaf plants), and
grass-like plants are also important. This publica-
tion is similar to Important Range Grasses for Evalu-
ating Grazing Management (Circular 665, Tanner
and Drummond; 1985) except the format was chang-
ed and additional information pertaining to manage-
ment of desirable grasses was included. Preferred
grasses are described on pages 1 through 9.
Nonpreferred grasses appear on pages 10 through
18. Definitions for terms used in "The Grass Plant"
figure are included in the glossary. Also, a flow
chart on the characteristics of all grasses was in-
cluded to provide a comprehensive overview for
quick reference.


Beaked panicums


Common name
Species

Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Beaked panicums
Panicum anceps; P. anceps
var. rhizomatum
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics


Type
Spikelets


Panicles 6 to 15 inches long
Usually 1/8 to 1/4 inch long,
set at an angle on the
pedicles or branchlets


Vegetative characteristics


Culm


Sheath
Blade



Ligule


2 to 4 feet tall, numerous
scaly rhizomes
Glabrous or hairy
1/4 to 1/2 inch wide; hairy
near the base; blades are
folded to somewhat V-
shaped
About 1/16 inch long


Site adaptations
Freshwater marshes and ponds
Cutthroat seeps

Growth and development
Growth begins during January in south Florida,
with vegetative growth concluding in July or Au-
gust. Seedheads appear in September, and plants
remain green until fall. All species produce abun-
dant seed, though plant reproduction is primarily
by rhizomes.

Forage value and uses
This preferred grass is selected by cattle from
early spring through late fall. Improper grazing
(over-grazing) will reduce the amount of beaked
panicums and encourage increase species such as
low panicums and broomsedge bluestem. Con-
trolled grazing during the summer, when forage
























Figure 1. Field shot of beaked panicum.


quality is the highest, will improve plant vigor and
density. Use of protein and energy supplements is
necessary when grazing in the winter.

Chalky bluestem


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


July, followed by seed stalks in September and Oc-
tober. Basal growth will remain green despite be-
low freezing temperatures in January.


Chalky bluestem
Andropogon capillipes
Perennial
Native
Warm
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


2 racemes, 1/2 to 1 inch.
Silky-villous spikelets,
partly enclosed in purplish
brown spathes about 1 inch
long.


Vegetative characteristics


Figure 3. Mature plant with seedheads of chalky bluestem.


Tufted, slender, erect, 2 to 5
feet tall
Keeled, overlapping sheaths
crowded at base, chalky-
glaucous
Mostly folded, 1/2 inch wide,
20 to 25 inches long, folded
Membranous, 1/16 inch long


Site adaptations
North and South Florida flatwoods
Cutthroat seeps
Freshwater marsh and pond

Growth and development
A preferred grass that begins growth in mid-
January in south Florida. Production peaks during


Figure 4. Vegetative regrowth of chalky bluestem.


Type
Spikelets


Culm


Sheath


Blade

Ligule


Figure 2. Close-up of beaked panicurn.








Forage value and uses
Chalky bluestem comprises 10 to 15 percent of the
total herbage (500 to 750 lb/A) from flatwood sites in
good range condition. This grass is recognized as the
most palatable native grass in Florida on the
flatwood sites. Excellent spring forage and winter
roughage is available with proper management. An-
nual burning will reduce vigor and growth. Seed
production is quite high.

Creeping bluestem
Common name Creeping bluestem
Species Scizachyrium stoloniferum
Life span Perennial
Origin Native
Season Warm
Growth Form Sod-forming grass

Inflorescence characteristics


roughage when supplemented with energy and pro-
tein. Herbage yield comprises 50 to 60 percent of
total yield or about 1800 to 3600 lb/A in range sites
in good to excellent condition. When burning creep-
ing bluestem every 3 to 4 years in February, defer-
ment of grazing until June will result in relatively
high quality forage and still maintain plant vigor.
Subsequent grazing after June should occur follow-
ing a 60 to 75 day deferment period.


Cutgrass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Cutgrass
Leersia hexandra
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Racemes (1 to 1 1/2 inch
long)
Sessile spikelet 1/4 to 3/8
inch long, scabrous, espe-
cially toward the summit
and on the margins


Vegetative characteristics


5 feet tall, single or a few to
a colony
Strongly flattened, slight
purplish tinge (pubescence)
near the base
1/4 to 3/8 inch wide, flat, up
to 2 feet long, keeled or V-
shaped and tapered abruptly
at the tip
Fringed membrane
Creeping scaly rhizomes


Site adaptations
North, South, and cabbage palm Florida flatwoods
Longleaf pine-turkey oak hills
Wetland hardwood hammock

Growth and development
Growth begins in early January in south Florida.
Peak production occurs by late July, followed by seed
maturity in October. Rhizomes elongate up to 12 to
14 inches during a single growing season.

Forage value and uses
A preferred grass remaining palatable throughout
the growing season. High forage quality (IVOMD of
50 to 60 percent, protein of 8 to 10 percent) is
present in June. This grass is utilized for winter


Figure 5. Mature plant of creeping bluestem.


Figure 6. Seedheads of creeping bluestem.


Type

Spikelets


Culm


Sheath


Blade



Ligule
Rhizomes








Forage value and uses
Chalky bluestem comprises 10 to 15 percent of the
total herbage (500 to 750 lb/A) from flatwood sites in
good range condition. This grass is recognized as the
most palatable native grass in Florida on the
flatwood sites. Excellent spring forage and winter
roughage is available with proper management. An-
nual burning will reduce vigor and growth. Seed
production is quite high.

Creeping bluestem
Common name Creeping bluestem
Species Scizachyrium stoloniferum
Life span Perennial
Origin Native
Season Warm
Growth Form Sod-forming grass

Inflorescence characteristics


roughage when supplemented with energy and pro-
tein. Herbage yield comprises 50 to 60 percent of
total yield or about 1800 to 3600 lb/A in range sites
in good to excellent condition. When burning creep-
ing bluestem every 3 to 4 years in February, defer-
ment of grazing until June will result in relatively
high quality forage and still maintain plant vigor.
Subsequent grazing after June should occur follow-
ing a 60 to 75 day deferment period.


Cutgrass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Cutgrass
Leersia hexandra
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Racemes (1 to 1 1/2 inch
long)
Sessile spikelet 1/4 to 3/8
inch long, scabrous, espe-
cially toward the summit
and on the margins


Vegetative characteristics


5 feet tall, single or a few to
a colony
Strongly flattened, slight
purplish tinge (pubescence)
near the base
1/4 to 3/8 inch wide, flat, up
to 2 feet long, keeled or V-
shaped and tapered abruptly
at the tip
Fringed membrane
Creeping scaly rhizomes


Site adaptations
North, South, and cabbage palm Florida flatwoods
Longleaf pine-turkey oak hills
Wetland hardwood hammock

Growth and development
Growth begins in early January in south Florida.
Peak production occurs by late July, followed by seed
maturity in October. Rhizomes elongate up to 12 to
14 inches during a single growing season.

Forage value and uses
A preferred grass remaining palatable throughout
the growing season. High forage quality (IVOMD of
50 to 60 percent, protein of 8 to 10 percent) is
present in June. This grass is utilized for winter


Figure 5. Mature plant of creeping bluestem.


Figure 6. Seedheads of creeping bluestem.


Type

Spikelets


Culm


Sheath


Blade



Ligule
Rhizomes








Inflorescence characteristics


Type

Spikelets


Vegetative
Culm


Sheath

Blade


Rhizomes
Stolons


Site adaptations
Freshwater marshes and ponds
Marshy shores of ponds, streams, swamps,
ditches, and drainage canals

Growth and development
This preferred grass begins growth in February in
south Florida. Flowering occurs primarily from
March through November. Cutgrass dies back after
the first frost when growing in open areas. Often
this grass grows in association with maidencane.

Forage value and uses
Cutgrass is preferred by livestock and remains
vigorous under proper grazing management. Con-
trolled grazing of maidencane followed by 5 to 7
week deferment periods should also benefit cutgrass.


Figure 8. Seedhead of cutgrass.


Eastern gamagrass
Common name Eastern gamagrass
Species Tripsacum dactyloides
Life span Perennial
Origin Native
Season Warm-season
Growth form Rhizomatous

Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Spikelets


Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath


Blade


Rhizomes


Racemes, usually 2 or 3, and
1/4 to 3/8 inch long
1 to 3 terminal spikelets; 6
to 10 inches long, unisexual

cteristics
5 to 9 feet tall, glabrous
Flattened, shorter than in-
ternodes
Flat, 1 to 2 feet long and 3/8
to 3/4 inch wide, pronounced
midrib, and scabrous margins
Short, thick, and knotty


Figure 7. Field shot of cutgrass.


Site adaptations
Wetland hardwood hammocks
Flatwoods sites (will not tolerate long periods of
standing water)


Panicle, 2 to 4 inches long,
ascending primary branch
Oblong (1/8 to 1/4 inch),
rough, and often purplish

characteristics
Slender, weak, long-decum-
bent from a creeping and
rooting base
Rounded, rough or smooth
to the touch
Flat, 1/4 inch wide, 6 to 7
inches long, and serrations
on leaf margin
Slender
Creeping, leafy








Inflorescence characteristics


Type

Spikelets


Vegetative
Culm

Sheath
Blade



Rhizomes


Open panicle 1/2 to 3/4 inch
long, few flowered
Narrowly lanceolate, 1/4 to
3/8 inch long, subterranean
spikelets 1/4 to 3/4 inch long

characteristics
Usually decumbent at base,
1 to 4 feet tall
Rounded on back
Evenly distributed less than
4 inches long, 3/16 to 3/8 inch
wide, white-margined when
dry, basal leaves mostly absent
Rhizomatous


Site adaptations
North, South, cabbage palm, and Everglades
flatwoods
Slough sites


Figure 9. Whole plant of eastern gamagrass.


Growth and development
Major forage production period occurs from early
spring through summer. Seed production is from
July until September, but few seeds are viable. Sus-
ceptible to frost, though some green plant material is
available during the winter.

Forage value and uses
Highly palatable forage to livestock. Controlled
grazing utilizing only 50 percent of standing forage,
along with deferment periods (90 days), will optimize
plant vigor, persistence, and utilization of eastern
gamagrass.

Little blue maidencane


Common name

Species

Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Little blue maidencane,
goobergrass
Amphicarpum
muhlenbegianum
Perennial
Native
Warm
Sod-forming grass


Figure 10. Whole plants of little blue maidencane.








Flat, less than 1/4 inch wide,
12 to 24 inches long
Membranous, pointed, 1/4 to
1/2 inch long
none


Figure 11. Arrow indicates a subterranean spikelet of little
blue maidencane.



Growth and development
This preferred grass begins growth (basal leaves
from rhizomes) in January in south Florida. By June
1 plant heights can average 14 inches. In June, an
inflorescence with sterile spikelets is formed as are
subterranean spikelets on pedicles 5/8 to 3/4 inch
long. Forage yields during the summer (June, July)
averaged 1800 lb/A of air dried material.

Forage value and uses
This palatable grass provides grazing up to 9
months in south Florida. Continuous heavy grazing
reduces stand vigor and encourages increase plants
like wiregrass, carpetgrass, etc. Deferment periods
will optimize plant vigor and production.

Lopsided indiangrass


Common name

Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Figure 12. Whole plant of lopsided indiangrass.


Lopsided indiangrass,
"wildoats"
Sorghastrum secundum
Perennial
Native
Warm
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


Panicle, 8 to 16 inches long,
golden brown, seed on one side
5/16 inches long, brownish


Vegetative characteristics
Culm 3 to 6 feet tall, base is robust
and felty-pubescent in small
tufts


Figure 13. Seedheads of lopsided indiangrass.


Blade

Ligule

Rhizomes


Type

Spikelets








Site adaptations
North and South Florida flatwoods
Longleaf pine turkey oak hills
Upland hardwood hammocks

Growth and development
Growth begins between mid-January and mid-
March in south Florida, with most of the vegetative
growth occurring from April to June. Seedheads ap-
pear in September and mature in October, at which
time growth stops.

Forage value and uses
A preferred grass that is very susceptible to over-
grazing. This grass will contribute 15 to 30 percent
of total forage yield on flatwood sites in good condi-
tion (900 to 1500 lb/A). Quality is typically good as
indicated by high cattle preference. When grazing,
no more than 50 percent of above ground herbage
should be removed per grazing period to maintain
plant vigor. Controlled grazing utilizing deferment
periods will enhance production and persistence of
lopsided indiangrass.

Maidencane


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Maidencane (tall)
Panicum hemitomon
Perennial
Native
Warm
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Panicle 6 to 12 inches long,
branches erect
Spikelets 1/16 inch long, irregularly
clustered along the
branches


Figure 14. Whole plants of tall maidencane.


Figure 15. Field of young, vegetative tall maidencane located
in a freshwater pond range site.


Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath


Blade



Rhizomes


cteristics
2 to 5 feet tall, usually hard
Leaf sheaths are rounded and
overlapping, sheaths of ster-
ile stems are often pubescent
and sheaths are glabrous on
fertile stems
4 to 10 inches long, 1/4 to 9/16
inch wide, usually rough
on upper side and smooth on
the lower side
Creeping rhizomes, 1/16 to
3/16 inches in diameter, yield
per acre of up to 11 tons fresh
weight


Site adaptations
Freshwater marshes and ponds
Wetland hardwood hammock

Growth and development
New shoots from this preferred grass emerge dur-
ing January in south Florida. Seed production in
June or July is followed by reduced growth in August
and September (high water levels). A second growth
period is from October to December. However,
maidencane is susceptible to cold and dies back fol-
lowing the first frost.

Forage value and uses
Maidencane should be grazed in the summer (June
to September) when high quality forage (protein = 10
to 11 percent; digestibility = 50 percent) exists in
marshes and ponds. Cattle will select maidencane in
the summer (up to 90 percent of diet) with enough
protein consumed to meet animal requirements of a
lactating cow. In January and February maidencane








is lower in quality (protein = 7 percent; digestibility
= 35 percent) and animals will require energy and
protein supplementation. Production from
maidencane areas can range from 5000 to 6000 lb/A
between April and October. Rotational grazing at a
high stocking rate with 5 to 7 week regrowth peri-
ods will optimize persistence, yield, and quality.
Roller chopping maidencane in late winter or early
spring is effective for renovating maidencane areas.


Switchgrass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum L.
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Open panicle, 6 to 20 inches
long
Spikelets 2/16 inch long and toward
ends of long branches


Vegetative characteristics
Culm Erect, 1 1/2 to 8 feet tall,
robust
Sheath Rounded, often purple to
red at base, margins may be


Blade





Ligule

Rhizomes


hairy
Firm, flat, 1/2 inch wide, up
to 30 inches long, prominent
white midrib, triangular
patch of hair at collar ex-
tending outward along mid-
rib of leaf blade
Fringed membrane, 1/16 to
1/8 inch long, rounded
Scaly creeping rhizomes


Site adaptations
Flatwoods sites
Brackish marshes
Longleaf pine bluestem range

Growth and development
Major forage production occurs from March until
September in south Florida. Rhizome production
and growth is from January to April. Seedhead for-
mation occurs from August to September. Viable
seed per pound of seed produced is low.

Forage value and uses
This preferred grass is highly selected by live-
stock and in pure stands can produce 3 to 4 tons of
dry forage and 100 to 150 pounds of seed per acre.
Switchgrass provides good spring, summer, and fall
forage for cattle and can be used as a hay crop.
Controlled grazing in combination with 90-day de-
ferment periods will optimize plant vigor, persis-
tence, and utilization of switchgrass.

Toothachegrass


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Toothachegrass
Ctenium aromaticum
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


Straight or arched spike
Sessile spikelets borne on
one side of the rachis pro-
duce a comb-like appear-
ance, prominent glands on
each side of the mid nerve of
the second glume


Figure 16. Whole plant of switchgrass.


Type
Spikelets








is lower in quality (protein = 7 percent; digestibility
= 35 percent) and animals will require energy and
protein supplementation. Production from
maidencane areas can range from 5000 to 6000 lb/A
between April and October. Rotational grazing at a
high stocking rate with 5 to 7 week regrowth peri-
ods will optimize persistence, yield, and quality.
Roller chopping maidencane in late winter or early
spring is effective for renovating maidencane areas.


Switchgrass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum L.
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Open panicle, 6 to 20 inches
long
Spikelets 2/16 inch long and toward
ends of long branches


Vegetative characteristics
Culm Erect, 1 1/2 to 8 feet tall,
robust
Sheath Rounded, often purple to
red at base, margins may be


Blade





Ligule

Rhizomes


hairy
Firm, flat, 1/2 inch wide, up
to 30 inches long, prominent
white midrib, triangular
patch of hair at collar ex-
tending outward along mid-
rib of leaf blade
Fringed membrane, 1/16 to
1/8 inch long, rounded
Scaly creeping rhizomes


Site adaptations
Flatwoods sites
Brackish marshes
Longleaf pine bluestem range

Growth and development
Major forage production occurs from March until
September in south Florida. Rhizome production
and growth is from January to April. Seedhead for-
mation occurs from August to September. Viable
seed per pound of seed produced is low.

Forage value and uses
This preferred grass is highly selected by live-
stock and in pure stands can produce 3 to 4 tons of
dry forage and 100 to 150 pounds of seed per acre.
Switchgrass provides good spring, summer, and fall
forage for cattle and can be used as a hay crop.
Controlled grazing in combination with 90-day de-
ferment periods will optimize plant vigor, persis-
tence, and utilization of switchgrass.

Toothachegrass


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Toothachegrass
Ctenium aromaticum
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


Straight or arched spike
Sessile spikelets borne on
one side of the rachis pro-
duce a comb-like appear-
ance, prominent glands on
each side of the mid nerve of
the second glume


Figure 16. Whole plant of switchgrass.


Type
Spikelets








Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


Panicle erect, 6 to 8 inches
long, resembles a brush
Bear three equal, 1 inch awns


Vegetative characteristics


Figure 17. Seedhead of toothachegrass.


Culm

Sheath
Blade


Erect, round, 10 to 30 inches
tall
Round
Stiff


Vegetative chara4
Culm
Sheath


Blade



Ligule


cteristics
3 to 5 feet tall
Basal, shorter than inter-
nodes, and old sheaths are
fibrillose at the base
1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, 6
to 10 inches long, pale green
below and green to nearly
white on the upper surface
Membranous, 1/16 inch long


Site adaptations
North and South Florida flatwoods
Cabbage palm flatwoods
Slough

Growth and development
Peak forage production occurs during the summer,
with some green forage remaining year-round.
Seedhead formation is in August or September, with
several culms per plant.


Site adaptations
Slough site
North and South Florida flatwoods
Cabbage palm flatwoods

Growth and development
Plants form dense tussocks. A substance which
deadens the tongue and gums when chewed is pro-
duced at the base of the culm. Plant growth begins
in mid-January in south Florida, with the greatest
forage production occurring from March to April
and seed formation from late May to early June.
Seed production is abundant the first growing sea-
son following a burn. Rarely is toothachegrass a
dominate species in a range site, but management
practices (controlled grazing, periodic burns) that
benefit associated grasses (i.e. lopsided indiangrass,
creeping bluestem, etc.) will enhance growth and
development of toothachegrass.

Forage value and uses
This preferred grass is grazed by livestock during
the spring and summer.

Bottlebrush threeawn
Common name Bottlebrush threeawn
Species Aristida speciformis


Figure 18. Whole plant with seedhead of bottlebrush threeawn.


Type

Spikelets








Forage value and uses
This invader species is extremely unpalatable to
livestock and quickly becomes established on range
sites that are mismanaged (overgrazed, improper
burning practices). Grazing of this plant shortly
after a burn (3 weeks post burn), followed by a de-
ferment period when desirable species are growing
will, over time, reduce the amount ofbottlebrush
present and improve range condition.

Broomsedge bluestem


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Broomsedge bluestem
Andropogon virginicus
Perennial
Native
Warm
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type 2 to 4 racemes (1 inch long),
narrow, freely branched,
feathery racemes enclosed
within a straw-colored, leaf-


liked spathe. Spathe as long
or longer than the raceme.

Vegetative characteristics


Culm


Sheath



Blade


Ligule


Erect, 2 to 4 feet tall, usually
in small tufts
Keeled, lower sheaths com-
pressed, glabrous or a few
scattered hairs along the
margins
Flat or folded, 1/8 to 1/4 inch
wide, pubescent on the up-
per surface toward the base
Fringed membrane, 1/16
inch long.


Site adaptations
North, South, and cabbage palm flatwoods
Slough
Freshwater marsh and pond
Longleaf pine turkey oak hills
Upland hardwood hammocks
Sand pine scrub

Growth and development
A nonpreferred grass that begins growth by mid-
January in south Florida. Plants are weakly rooted
and grow in direct sunlight to 30 percent shade.
Grows well on sites low in fertility, such as eroded,
worn out fields. This plant will invade introduced
pastures.

Forage value and uses
On range sites in good condition broomsedge con-
tributes about 10 percent of total herbage yield com-
pared with 60 to 90 percent of total herbage on range
sites in poor to fair condition. Broomsedge is highest
in quality during the spring, with low forage quality
values occurring from summer-winter. Heavy spring
grazing when most palatable followed by summer de-
ferment will enhance growth of preferred grasses and
decrease the amount of broomsedge.

Bushybeard bluestem


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Bushybeard bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Figure 19. Whole plant with seedhead of broomsedge
bluestem.


Dense, feathery, aggregated
at the tops of culms; paired








Forage value and uses
This invader species is extremely unpalatable to
livestock and quickly becomes established on range
sites that are mismanaged (overgrazed, improper
burning practices). Grazing of this plant shortly
after a burn (3 weeks post burn), followed by a de-
ferment period when desirable species are growing
will, over time, reduce the amount ofbottlebrush
present and improve range condition.

Broomsedge bluestem


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Broomsedge bluestem
Andropogon virginicus
Perennial
Native
Warm
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type 2 to 4 racemes (1 inch long),
narrow, freely branched,
feathery racemes enclosed
within a straw-colored, leaf-


liked spathe. Spathe as long
or longer than the raceme.

Vegetative characteristics


Culm


Sheath



Blade


Ligule


Erect, 2 to 4 feet tall, usually
in small tufts
Keeled, lower sheaths com-
pressed, glabrous or a few
scattered hairs along the
margins
Flat or folded, 1/8 to 1/4 inch
wide, pubescent on the up-
per surface toward the base
Fringed membrane, 1/16
inch long.


Site adaptations
North, South, and cabbage palm flatwoods
Slough
Freshwater marsh and pond
Longleaf pine turkey oak hills
Upland hardwood hammocks
Sand pine scrub

Growth and development
A nonpreferred grass that begins growth by mid-
January in south Florida. Plants are weakly rooted
and grow in direct sunlight to 30 percent shade.
Grows well on sites low in fertility, such as eroded,
worn out fields. This plant will invade introduced
pastures.

Forage value and uses
On range sites in good condition broomsedge con-
tributes about 10 percent of total herbage yield com-
pared with 60 to 90 percent of total herbage on range
sites in poor to fair condition. Broomsedge is highest
in quality during the spring, with low forage quality
values occurring from summer-winter. Heavy spring
grazing when most palatable followed by summer de-
ferment will enhance growth of preferred grasses and
decrease the amount of broomsedge.

Bushybeard bluestem


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Bushybeard bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Figure 19. Whole plant with seedhead of broomsedge
bluestem.


Dense, feathery, aggregated
at the tops of culms; paired








Keeled, longer than inter-
nodes, occasionally villous,
rough to touch
6 to 24 inches long, 1/4 to
1/2 inch wide
Membranous, 1/16 inch long


Figure 20. Seedhead of bushybeard bluestem,


Site adaptations
Freshwater marshes and ponds
North and South Florida flatwoods
Cabbage palm flatwoods

Generally occurs throughout Florida, particularly
in low, moist sites such as margins of swamps.

Growth and development
Most of forage growth occurs from February
through August with seedheads produced in Septem-
ber. Seeds mature in November in south Florida.

Forage value and uses
This nonpreferred grass is generally of poor forage
value, especially during the summer, fall, and winter
months. Bushybeard is most palatable in the spring,
especially following a February burn. An increase in
abundance of bushybeard indicates improper man-
agement (i.e. overgrazing).


racemes of 3/8 to 1 1/4
inches long, partly enclosed
in spathes of about the
same length

Vegetative characteristics
Culm Erect, 3 to 5 feet tall, com-
pressed


Carpet grass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Carpet grass
Axonopus spp.
Perennial
Introduced
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Figure 21. Whole plant of carpetgrass.


Sheath


Blade

Ligule


Figure 22. Field view of carpetgrass.









Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Spikelets

Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath
Blade



Stolons

Site adaptations


2 to 5 racemes, multiple spi-
cate located at or near the
summit of the culm
1/16 to 3/8 inch long

cteristics
16 to 40 inches tall
Compressed, keeled
Flat or folded, often ciliate,
rounded or slightly pointed
at the tips, 1/4 to 1/2 inch
wide
Stoloniferous


Cogongrass
Common name
Species

Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Cogongrass
Imperata cylindrica, I.
brasiliensis
Perennial
Introduced
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Panicle dense, fluffy-white
spikelets: 1/4 inch long


Vegetative characteristics


Culm
Blade


Throughout Florida on soils ranging from sands
to mucks to peats. Three species occur in Florida:
big carpet grass (A. furcatus), common carpet grass
(A. aftinis), and tropical carpet grass (A.
compressus).

Growth and development
Remains green year-long in south Florida with
stolons and seeds produced throughout the year.

Forage value and uses
All three species of carpet grass are nonpreferred
and are classified as invaders except on the fresh-
water marsh site where big carpet grass is an in-
creaser. These grasses provide fair-to-good grazing
during the summer months, and poor quality win-
ter roughage. Over-grazing causes carpet grass to
replace the productive bluestems, paspalums, and
panicums.


Rhizomes


1 to 4 feet tall
12 to 24 inches long, yellow-
ish, flattened with serra-
tions on leaf margins and
tips
Scaly


Site adaptations
Better drained sites
Phosphate mine spoil areas
Roadsides


Growth and development
Initiates growth in February in south Florida.
and remains green into fall before turning brown
following a severe frost. Flowering may occur year-
round, but primarily in April and May and in
October.

Forage value and uses
This nonpreferred grass is rated among the 10
worst weeds in the world. Cogongrass has little
value as a forage and should be eradicated from all
grazing areas.

Knotroot bristlegrass


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Knotroot bristlegrass
Setaria geniculata
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Rhizomatous


Inflorescence characteristics


Yellowish, dense spikelet:
1 1/2 to 2 inches long and
1/2 to 3/4 inch wide
Crowded and subtended by
5 or more bristles


Figure 23. Field view of cogongrass.


Type


Spikelets









Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Spikelets

Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath
Blade



Stolons

Site adaptations


2 to 5 racemes, multiple spi-
cate located at or near the
summit of the culm
1/16 to 3/8 inch long

cteristics
16 to 40 inches tall
Compressed, keeled
Flat or folded, often ciliate,
rounded or slightly pointed
at the tips, 1/4 to 1/2 inch
wide
Stoloniferous


Cogongrass
Common name
Species

Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Cogongrass
Imperata cylindrica, I.
brasiliensis
Perennial
Introduced
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics


Type


Panicle dense, fluffy-white
spikelets: 1/4 inch long


Vegetative characteristics


Culm
Blade


Throughout Florida on soils ranging from sands
to mucks to peats. Three species occur in Florida:
big carpet grass (A. furcatus), common carpet grass
(A. aftinis), and tropical carpet grass (A.
compressus).

Growth and development
Remains green year-long in south Florida with
stolons and seeds produced throughout the year.

Forage value and uses
All three species of carpet grass are nonpreferred
and are classified as invaders except on the fresh-
water marsh site where big carpet grass is an in-
creaser. These grasses provide fair-to-good grazing
during the summer months, and poor quality win-
ter roughage. Over-grazing causes carpet grass to
replace the productive bluestems, paspalums, and
panicums.


Rhizomes


1 to 4 feet tall
12 to 24 inches long, yellow-
ish, flattened with serra-
tions on leaf margins and
tips
Scaly


Site adaptations
Better drained sites
Phosphate mine spoil areas
Roadsides


Growth and development
Initiates growth in February in south Florida.
and remains green into fall before turning brown
following a severe frost. Flowering may occur year-
round, but primarily in April and May and in
October.

Forage value and uses
This nonpreferred grass is rated among the 10
worst weeds in the world. Cogongrass has little
value as a forage and should be eradicated from all
grazing areas.

Knotroot bristlegrass


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Knotroot bristlegrass
Setaria geniculata
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Rhizomatous


Inflorescence characteristics


Yellowish, dense spikelet:
1 1/2 to 2 inches long and
1/2 to 3/4 inch wide
Crowded and subtended by
5 or more bristles


Figure 23. Field view of cogongrass.


Type


Spikelets








Bristlegrass is not a dominant species in range, and
management should not be based on this grass.

Low panicums


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Erect to prostrate, com-
pressed, 20 to 40 inches tall
Round
Flat, 1/4 inch wide, 8 to 10
inches long, pubescent
upper surface, prominent
midrib
Fringe of short hairs
1 to 2 inches long, short,
knotty, branching rhizomes


Low panicums
Dicanthelium spp.
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Open panicles with spring
growth, small panicle with
fewer spikelets in the fall

Vegetative characteristics
Culm Less than 18 inches in
height
Sheath Pubescent
Blade Pubescent

Site adaptations
Flatwoods sites
Upland hardwood and wetland hammocks
Longleaf pine turkey oak hills
Slough

Growth and development
As a subgenus of panicum, there are sixteen spe-
cies that occur in Florida. These are named be-
cause of a low growth form. Three distinct growth
forms include winter rosettes, spring (vernal)
growth with seedheads, and summer (autumnal)
phase with seedheads. Green forage is present


Site adaptations
Slough
Salt marshes
North Florida flatwoods very wet sites

Growth and development
Peak forage production is from March or April
through September. Seedhead formation occurs in late
May or June, with 2 to 3 seed crops produced during
the growing season. Seed viability is low, and the
short, knotty rhizomes do not contribute toward the
spread of this grass.

Forage value and uses
This nonpreferred grass is most palatable in the
spring and summer months. It provides poor roughage
during the winter compared to other desirable grasses. Figure 25. Whole plant of low panicums.


Figure 24. Whole plant of knotroot showing seedheads.


Vegetative characteristics


Culm


Sheath
Blade



Ligule
Rhizomes








Growth and development
Peak forage production occurs from spring until
fall. Seedhead formation occurs in May or June,
though seed production is not common.

Forage value and uses
Fall or winter burns result in fair quality grazing
from this nonpreferred grass in the spring, though
the plant is unpalatable the remainder of the year.
Under continuous grazing, cattle select the pre-
ferred species (maidencane, cutgrass) and allow
sand cordgrass to increase. Disking infested sites
followed by a full growing season deferment will
allow the preferred species to spread.


Figure 26. Seedhead of low panicums.


year-round and this grass will tolerate shade from
adjacent taller plants.

Forage value and uses
Low panicums are nonpreferred grasses that
produce a high-quality forage. However, production
(yield) is low compared to the taller grasses. Winter
rosettes provide green forage during the winter
months for cattle. Improper management or soil
disturbance (plowing) will result in an increase of
low panicums.

Sand cordgrass


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Sand cordgrass
Spartina bakeri
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Figure 27. Field view of sand cordgrass.


Torpedograss
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Torpedograss
Panicum repens
Perennial
Introduced
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Panicle
Spikelets 5 to 12 erect, 1 1/4 to 2 1/2
inches long, appressed
spikes

Vegetative characteristics


3 to 5 feet tall
Rounded
Flat, 1/4 inch wide, coarse
texture, rolled inward
when dried


Inflorescence characteristics


Type

Spikelets

Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath
Blade


Rhizomes


Site adaptations
Freshwater marsh and ponds
Slough


Open panicles, 4 to 7 inches
long
1/16 inch long

cteristics
Erect, 12 to 31 inches long
More or less pubescent
Flat or folded, 1/8 to 1/4
inch wide, sparsely pubes-
cent to glabrous, color is
gray-green
Extensively creeping, up to
20 feet long


Culm
Sheath
Blade








Growth and development
Peak forage production occurs from spring until
fall. Seedhead formation occurs in May or June,
though seed production is not common.

Forage value and uses
Fall or winter burns result in fair quality grazing
from this nonpreferred grass in the spring, though
the plant is unpalatable the remainder of the year.
Under continuous grazing, cattle select the pre-
ferred species (maidencane, cutgrass) and allow
sand cordgrass to increase. Disking infested sites
followed by a full growing season deferment will
allow the preferred species to spread.


Figure 26. Seedhead of low panicums.


year-round and this grass will tolerate shade from
adjacent taller plants.

Forage value and uses
Low panicums are nonpreferred grasses that
produce a high-quality forage. However, production
(yield) is low compared to the taller grasses. Winter
rosettes provide green forage during the winter
months for cattle. Improper management or soil
disturbance (plowing) will result in an increase of
low panicums.

Sand cordgrass


Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Sand cordgrass
Spartina bakeri
Perennial
Native
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Figure 27. Field view of sand cordgrass.


Torpedograss
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Torpedograss
Panicum repens
Perennial
Introduced
Warm-season
Sod-forming grass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Panicle
Spikelets 5 to 12 erect, 1 1/4 to 2 1/2
inches long, appressed
spikes

Vegetative characteristics


3 to 5 feet tall
Rounded
Flat, 1/4 inch wide, coarse
texture, rolled inward
when dried


Inflorescence characteristics


Type

Spikelets

Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath
Blade


Rhizomes


Site adaptations
Freshwater marsh and ponds
Slough


Open panicles, 4 to 7 inches
long
1/16 inch long

cteristics
Erect, 12 to 31 inches long
More or less pubescent
Flat or folded, 1/8 to 1/4
inch wide, sparsely pubes-
cent to glabrous, color is
gray-green
Extensively creeping, up to
20 feet long


Culm
Sheath
Blade








Vaseygrass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Vaseygrass
Paspalum urvillei
Perennial
Introduced
Warm-season
Bunchgrass


Inflorescence characteristics
Type Panicle erect, 4 to 6 inches
long, collection of 12 to 20
rather crowded, ascending
racemes
Spikelets 1/8 inch long, ovate, pointed,
and fringed with long
white silky hairs


Vegetative
Culm

Sheath

Blade


characteristics
Densely pubescent, erect, 3
to 6 feet tall
Coarsely pubescent or occa-
sionally glabrous
Flat, 4 to 16 inches long and
1/8 to 5/8 inch wide,
pubescent at base


Figure 28. Whole plant of torpedograss.


Site adaptations
Wet poorly drained sites in central and south
Florida
Slough or freshwater marshes if excessive soil dis-
turbance (tillage) has occurred

Growth and development
Initiates growth in February in south Florida,
with seedhead formation in July. Plants do not toler-
ate cold temperatures and will brown following the
first frost. Torpedograss is aggressive and will in-
vade moist sites forming dense rhizome networks.

Forage value and uses
Torpedograss is palatable, though production
(yield) and quality is lower than preferred grasses
such as little blue maidencane, maidencane, cut-
grass, and chalky bluestem commonly found on range
sites where torpedograss is adapted. Once estab-
lished, this grass is difficult to kill, and consequently
torpedograss should not be introduced into range-
land.


Figure 29. Seedhead of torpedograss.








Inflorescence characteristics


Type




Spikelets

Vegetative chara
Culm
Sheath
Blade


Ligule


Panicle slender, up to 12
inches long, slender or
narrow; glumes about equal,
5/16 to 3/8 inch long;
awns divergent
1-flowered

cteristics
Erect, 1 to 3 feet tall
Glabrous
1/16 inch thick, blades 1/4 to
3/8 inch long and narrow.
rolled inward, hairy on the
upper surface near the base
Absent or short hairs 1/32
inch long)


Figure 30. Whole plant of vaseygrass.


Site adaptations
Moist, disturbed sites such as roadside ditches
and waste places

Growth and development
Initiates growth in early spring with peak forage
production occurring between May and September.
Seedhead formation can occur between March and
October.

Forage value and uses
This nonpreferred species provides poor forage
when plants are mature, though vegetative mate-
rial has a fair forage value. Overgrazing in range
areas will encourage invasion of vaseygrass.


Figure 31. Whole plant of wiregrass.


Wiregrass
Common name
Species
Life span
Origin
Season
Growth form


Wiregrass
Aristida strict
Perennial
Native
Cool
Bunchgrass


Figure 32. Vegetative regrowth of wiregrass from a burned
area.









Site adaptations
North and South Florida flatwoods
Cabbage palm flatwoods

Growth and development
This nonpreferred grass begins growth in Janu-
ary in south Florida. Initial growth is rapid, with
leaf blades reaching 1 inch in 4 weeks without pro-
longed cold weather. Seedheads form from May to
June. Mature plants, unburned for 2 to 3 years,
produce coarse, low quality forage. Forage produc-
tion is low with only 1700 lb/A produced the first
growing season following a prescribed burn. Short,
thin rhizomes may develop in plants recently
burned. Range in poor condition can have greater
than 80 percent wiregrass.

Forage value and uses
This grass is palatable only for a short period of
time in the spring (March to April) and then be-
comes wiry and unpalatable to cattle. Wiregrass
can be killed by double chopping in early spring.
Also, heavy grazing in early spring will decrease
populations of wiregrass and improve range condi-
tion. Good range management (controlled grazing,
range improvement practices) will result in
wiregrass being replaced with more desirable na-
tive grasses.

Glossary
Blade the part of the leaf above the sheath
Bristle a stiff, slender appendage
Bunchgrass a grass without stolons or rhi-
zomes; growth habit of forming a bunch
Cool-season growth begins in early spring,
stops in the summer, and may regrow in the cool
months of the fall. Generally exhibit the C3 photo-
synthetic pathway.
Creeping spreading just under the surface of
the soil
Culm the jointed stem of a grass
Decreaser range plants that decrease under
heavy grazing
Glabrous without hairs
Increaser range plants that increase in num-


ber as the decreaser plants are weakened and die
from heavy grazing
Inflorescence the flowering part of a plant
Internode the part of a stem between two suc-
cessive nodes
Introduced species that have been brought
into North America
Invader undesirable range plants that invade
and take over a range after the decreasers and in-
creasers are largely gone
Knotty with a hardened mass at the base or
nodes
Ligule the appendage or ring of hairs on the
inside of a leaf at the junction of the sheath and
blade
Membranous thin, like a membrane
Native species that originated in North
America
Nonpreferred species that are not preferred
by grazing animals and are relatively unpalatable
to cattle
Palatable desirable for grazing by livestock or
wildlife
Perennial lasting more than 2 years
Preferred species that are preferred by graz-
ing animals and are grazed by first choice
Pubescent covered with hairs
Raceme an inflorescence in which the spike-
lets are pedicelled on a rachis
Rhizome an underground stem
Rhizomatous having rhizomes
Sod-forming a grass with stolons or rhizomes
Spike an unbranched inflorescence in which
the spikelets are sessile on a rachis
Spikelet the unit of inflorescence in grasses
consisting of two glumes and one or more florets
Stolon an above ground modified reproductive
stem
Stoloniferous bearing stolons
Warm-season growth begins in late spring,
continues through summer, and stops in early fall













CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMON GRASSES


IT IT it 11 I


PLANT NAME


rirninn


Desirabilit


Growth
Form'/


N I P N B S D I I L M G
a n r o u o e n n o e o
t t e n n d c c v w d o
S I n II r f r r a i d


Grazing
Response


Forage
Value'


GRASSES

Beaked panicums X X X X X
Chalky bluestem X X X X X
Creeping bluestem X X X X X

Cutgrass X X X X X
Eastern gamagrass X X X X X
Little blue maidencane X X X X X
Lopsided indiangrass X X X X X

Maidencane X X X X X
Switchgrass X X X X X
Toothachegrass X X X X X
Bottlebrush threeawn X X X X X

Broomsedge bluestem X X X X X
Bushybeard bluestem X X X X X
Carpet grass X X X X X
Cogongrass X X X X X

Knotroot bristlegrass X X X X X
Low panicums X X X X X
Sand cordgrass X X x X X
Torpedograss X X X X X

Vaseygrass X X X X X
Wiregrass X X X x x

1 Forage value is based upon seasonal forage quality, desirability to cattle, production (yield), and the grazing response.






















MARSTON SCIENCE LIBRARY~

























































COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, John T. Woeste.
Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June
30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that
function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth
publications) are available free to Florida residents from county extension offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers
is availablefrom C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida32611. Before publicizing
this publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability. Printed 2/92.




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