• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Land choice, clearing, and...
 Planting grass
 Lime and fertilizer
 Management and utilization
 Grass varieties
 Planting and maintaining grass...






Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 484
Title: Grass pastures in central Florida
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026530/00001
 Material Information
Title: Grass pastures in central Florida
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hodges, E. M ( Elver M )
Jones, D. W ( David W. ), 1918-
Kirk, W. Gordon ( William Gordon ), 1898-1979
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1951
 Subjects
Subject: Grasses -- Varieties -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Grasses -- Planting -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Pastures -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: E.M. Hodges, D.W. Jones and W.G. Kirk.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "A contribution from the Range Cattle Station"--T.p.
Funding: This collection includes items related to Florida’s environments, ecosystems, and species. It includes the subcollections of Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project documents, the Florida Sea Grant technical series, the Florida Geological Survey series, the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetland technical reports, and other entities devoted to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026530
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000925743
oclc - 18266191
notis - AEN6399

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    Introduction
        Page 5
    Land choice, clearing, and preparation
        Page 6
        Choice
            Page 6
        Clearing and preparation
            Page 7
    Planting grass
        Page 8
        Date of planting
            Page 8
        Seed and vegetative plantings
            Page 9
        Vegetative plantings plots
            Page 10
        Scattering seed and stems
            Page 11
        Coverage and packing
            Page 12
    Lime and fertilizer
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Management and utilization
        Page 19
        Fencing
            Page 19
        Managing young grass and pasture productivity
            Page 20
            Page 21
        Feeding concentrates on pasture
            Page 22
        Improved and native pasture work well together
            Page 22
        Frost resistance and grazing value
            Page 23
        Mineral supplements, hay, and pasture insects
            Page 24
            Page 25
    Grass varieties
        Page 26
        Bahia grass
            Page 26
        Bermuda
            Page 27
        Carpet and cogon
            Page 28
        Fescue, Kentucky 31 and alta - pangola - para
            Page 29
        Carib, rhodes, St. Augustine, ryegrass, and torpedo
            Page 30
        Vasey and other grasses
            Page 31
    Planting and maintaining grass pastures
        Page 32
Full Text



November 1951


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
WILLARD M. FIFIELD, Director
GAINESVILLE. FLORIDA
(A Contribution from the Range Cattle Station)













Grass Pastures in Central Florida

E. M. HODGES, D. W. JONES and W. G. KIRK























Single copies free to Florida residents on request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA


Bulletin 484










BOARD OF CONTROL

Frank M. Harris, Chairman, St. Petersburg
Hollis Rinehart, Miami
Eli H. Fink, Jacksonville
George J. White, Sr., Mount Dora
Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Jacksonville
George W. English, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
W. Glenn Miller, Monticello
W. F. Powers, Secretary, Tallahassee

EXECUTIVE STAFF
J. Hillis Miller, Ph.D., President
J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., Provost for Agr.3
Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Director
J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Asso. Director
L. 0. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir., Research
Geo. F. Baughman, M.S., Business Mgr.3
Rogers L. Bartley, B.S., Admin. Mgr.3
Claranelle Alderman, Accountant3

MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE

AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
H. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agr. Economist 3
R. E. L. Greene, Ph.D., Agr. Economist
M. A. Brooker, Ph.D., Agr. Economist
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate
A. H. Spurlock. M.S.A., Associate
D. E. Alleger, M.S., Associate
D. L. Brooke, M.S.A., Associate4
M. R. Godwin, Ph.D., Associate
H. W. Little, M.S., Assistant4
Tallmadge Bergen, B.S., Assistant
D. C. Kimmel, Ph.D., Assistant
A. L. Larson, Ph.D., Agr. Economist
W. E. McPherson, M.S., Economist
Orlando, Florida (Cooperative USDA)
G. Norman Rose, B.S., Asso. Agr. Economist
J. C. Townsend, Jr., B.S.A., Agr.
Statistician 2
J. B. Owens, B.S.A., Agr. Statistician

AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING
Frazier Rogers, M.S.A., Agr. Engineer 1
J. M. Johnson, B.S.A.E., Agr. Eng.3
J. M. Myers, B.S., Asso. Agr. Engineer
R. E. Choate, B.S.A.E., Asso. Agr. Ene."
A. M. Pettis, B.S.A.E., Asst. Agr. Eng.2 3

AGRONOMY
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Agronomist
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Agronomist
R. W. Bledsoe, Ph.D., Agronomist
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate
Darrel D. Morey, Ph.D., Associate
Fred A. Clark, B.S., Assistant
Myron C. Grennell, B.S.A.E., Assistant
E. S. Horner, Ph.D., Assistant
A. T. Wallace, Ph.D., Assistant
D. E. McCloud, Ph.D., Assistant
H. E. Buckley, B.S.A., Assistant

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND NUTRITION
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., An. Hush.1 3
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist 3
J. E. Pace, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.3
S. John Folks, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.4
Katherine Boney, B.S., Asst. Chem.
A. M. Pearson, Ph.D., Asso. An. Husb.3
John D. Feaster, Ph.D., Asst. An. Nutri.
H. D. Wallace. Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb.3
M. Koger, Ph.D., An. Husbandman 3

DAIRY SCIENCE
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Tech.13
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Hush.3
S. P. Marshall, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Husb.3
W. A. Krienke, M.S., Asso; in Dairy Mfs.8
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy Husb.2
Leon Mull, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Tech.
H. Wilkowske, Ph.D., Asst. Dairy Tech.
James M. Wing, M.S., Asst. Dairy Husb.


EDITORIAL
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor 3
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Associate Editor3
L. Odell Griffith, B.A.J., Asst. Editors
J. N. Joiner, B.S.A., Assistant Editor

ENTOMOLOGY
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Entomologist
L. C. Kuitert, Ph.D., Associate
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant
F. A. Robinson, M.S., Asst. Apiculturist

HOME ECONOMICS
Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.1
R. B. French, Ph.D., Biochemist

HORTICULTURE
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist1
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Horticulturist s
Albert P. Lorz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
R. K. Showalter, M.S., Asso. Hort.
R. A. Dennison, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
R. H. Sharpe, M.S., Asso. Horticulturist
V. F. Nettles, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.2
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asso. Hort.
L. H. Halsey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
C. D. Hall, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
Austin Griffiths, Jr., B.S., Asst. Hort.
S. E. McFadden, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Hort.

LIBRARY
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian

PLANT PATHOLOGY
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist1s
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist and Botanist
Robert W. Earhart, Ph.D., Plant Path.2
Howard N. Miller, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asst. Botanist
C. W. Anderson, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.

POULTRY HUSBANDRY
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.13
J. C. Driggers, Ph.D., Asso. Poultry Husb.

SOILS
F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologist 3
Gaylord M. Volk, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. R. Henderson, M.S.A., Soil Technologist3
J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Nathan Gammon, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Ralph G. Leighty, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor 3
G. D. Thornton, Ph.D., Asso. Microbiologist "
Charles F. Eno, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Micro-
biologist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Chemist34
V. W. Carlisle, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor
James H. Walker, M.S.A., Asst. Soil
Surveyor
S. N. Edson, M.S.. Asst. Microbiologist
Fred E. Koehler, Ph.D., Asst. Soil Micro-
biologist
William K. Robertson, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
0. E. Cruz, B.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
W. G. Blue, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
J. G. A. Fiskel, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist

VETERINARY SCIENCE
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarian 3
C. F. Simpson, D.V.M., Asso. Veterinarian
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist
Glenn Van Ness, D.V.M., Asso. Poultry
Pathologist
G. E. Batte, D.V.M., Asso. Parasitologist











BRANCH STATIONS


NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY

J. D. Warner, M.S., Vice-Director in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
L. G. Thompson, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
W. C. Rhoads, M.S., Entomologist
W.r H. Chapman, M.S., Asso. Agronomist
Frank S. Baker, Jr., B.S., Asst. An. Hush.

Motile Unit, Monticello
R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Marianna
R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Pensacola
R. L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit. Chipley
J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist

CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist
R. F. Suit, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. P. Ducharme, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
C. R. Stearns, Jr., B.S.A., Asso. Chemist
J. W. Sites, Ph.D., Horticulturist
H. 0. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
H. J. Reilz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Francine Fisher, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
I. W. Wander, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. W. Kesterson, M.S., Asso. Chemist
R. Hendrickson, B.S., Asst. Chemist
Ivan Stewart, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
D. S. Prosser, Jr., B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
R. W. Olsen, B.S., Biochemist
F. W. Wenzel, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist
Alvin H. Rouse, M.S., Asso. Chemist
H. W. Ford, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
L. W. Faville, Ph.D., Asst. Bacteriologist
L. C. Knorr, Ph.D., Asso. Histologist'
R. M. Pratt, Ph.D., Asso. Ent.-Pathologist
J. W. Davis, B.S.A., Asst. Ent.-Path.
W. A. Simanton, Ph.D., Entomologist
E. J. Deszyck, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
C. D. Leonard, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
I. Stewart, M.S., Asst. Biochemist
W. T. Long, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
M. H. Muma, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist

EVERGLADES STATION, BELLE GLADE
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Sugar Physiologist
J. W. Randolph, M.S., Agricultural Engr.
W. T. Forsee, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asso. Animal Husb.
T. C. Erwin, Assistant Chemist
C. C. Seale, Asso. Agronomist
N. C. Hayslip, B.S.A., Asso. Entomologist
E. A. Wolf, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
W. H. Thames, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
W. N. Stoner, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
W. A. Hills, M.S., Asso. Horticulturist
W. G. Genung, B.S.A., Asst. Entomologist
Frank V. Stevenson, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.
R. H. Webster, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
Robert J. Allen, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
V. E. Green, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
J. F. Darby, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
H. L. Chapman, M.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.
Thos. G. Bowery, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist


SUB-TROPICAL STATION, HOMESTEAD
Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
D. 0. Wolfenbarger, Ph.D., Entomologist
Francis B. Lincoln, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Robert A. Conover, Ph.D., Plant Path.
John L. Malcolm, Ph.D., Asso. Soils Chemist
R. W. Harkness, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
R. Bruce Ledin, Ph.D., Asst. Hart.

WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION,
BROOKSVILLE
William Jackson, B.S.A., Animal Husband-
man in Charge 2

RANGE CATTLE STATION, ONA
W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Agronomist
D. W. Jones, M.S., Asst. Soil Technologist

CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION, SANFORD
R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist
P. J. Westgate, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
Ben. F. Whitner, Jr.. B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
Geo. Swank, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.

WEST FLORIDA STATION, JAY
C. E. Hutton, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
H. W. Lundy, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist
W. R. Langford, Ph.D., Asst. Agron.

SUWANNEE VALLEY STATION,
LIVE OAK
G. E. Ritchey, M.S.. Agronomist in Charge

GULF COAST STATION, BRADENTON
E. L. Spencer, Ph.D., Soils Chemist in Charge
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
David G. Kelbert, Asso. Horticulturist
Robert O. Magic, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
J. M. Walter, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Donald S. Burgis, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
C. M. Geraldson, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
W. G. Cowper~hwaite, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.



FIELD LABORATORIES

Watermelon, Grape,' Pasture-Leesburg
C. C. Helms, Jr., B.S., Asst. Agronomist 4

Strawberry-Plant City
A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist

Vegetables-Hastings
A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Horticulturist

Pecans-Monticello
A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asso. Entomologist2
John R. Large, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.

Frost Forecasting-Lakeland
Warren O. Johnson, B.S., Meteorologist2

1 Head of Department
2 In cooperation with U. S.
3 Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
On leave.











CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION .................................................--.---------- ------- 5
LAND CHOICE, CLEARING AND PREPARATION ................-..--... ----........----- 6
Choice ..............................................................--........................-....... .----- 6
Stumps and Trees .........----..........---------....................... ----..---- 7
Preparation ....................................... .......................... ............ .......... 7
PLANTING GRASS ..............-.....--....------...-----.-- ....--------------- 8
Date of Planting .......................................... ........ ....---------------- -------- 8
Seed .............................................................-................................... 9
Vegetative Plantings ...........- ......................----------.............-. 9
Vegetative Planting Plots .. ... ---........--------------.................-. 10
Scattering Seed and Stem s .--................. .... .......................................... 11
Coverage .........................................................................................---. -- 12
Packing --.............-........................... ------- ...........----........-- .........--------.--- 12
LIME AND FERTILIZER ..............................................--- ....--------.......... 13
Lime ........--.....----..--....------.........-....- ..--- ........--------...--............. ...------- 13
F fertilizer ......................................................................................................... 14
Nitrogen .................. ...............................................................-- -------- 14
Phosphorus ...........--..........--------.............................------------ 15
Potassium ................. ........ ............... ................. ............ ....... ........ 15
M inor elem ents .......................................................................................... 15
Single elements and unbalanced fertilization .................................... 16
Fertilizer form ulas .................................................................................. 16
Fertilizing new plantings ..................................................................... 16
Treatment for established grass ..... ------...................................... 16
Tim e of fertilization .............................................. ..... .. .................... 17
Spreading fertilizer and lime ........-- ...........-- ......... ....-----... --------18
Disking and fertilization ....................................--- ..............--. .....-- 19
MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION ..................................................... ....... 19
F encing ........................................................................................................... 19
M managing Y oung Grass .............................................................................. 20
Pasture Productivity ..............................................................--..........-... --20
Feeding Concentrates on Pasture ..................................................-- ... --22
Improved and Native Pasture Work Well Together ............................. 22
Frost Resistance and Grazing Value ........................................----.......--. 23
Mineral Supplements ..................................-.........-.............-.--....---.----. 24
Hay .........-- -..---............-- ..--................---.........----...--..-----------...........--... 24
Pasture Insects .............................................-.......-.................-....... ......-----. 24
Army Worms and Grass Worms -------............---.................. ------24
A phids .................................................. ............................ .. ... ... 25
Other Insects .....................------- ......---...---.... -.............. ............. 25
Insecticide Residues .............- ........-....-....-....-..... .-..... ... 26
GRASS VARIETIES ....................----------------------------------..................- -- .......... 26
B ahia ............................... -................................................................... 26
B erm uda ............................................................................................ .....------ 27
C arpet .............................................................................. .............................. 28
C ogon ........................ ...................................................... .............................. 28
Fescue, Kentucky 31 and Alta ..............................-...............................--... 29
P angola ................................................ ................. ........................................ 29
P ara ............................................ .............. -................................... 29
C arib .....-- .........................................................-............ ........................... 30
Rhodes ................ ................... ................. .............. ....................... 30
Rhodeugstine------------------------------------------------------------------------- 30
St. A ugustine ..... ................ .......... .... ................ .....................-............. 30
R yegrass ..........-- ......................................... ........ ......- .............................. 30
T orpedo ........................................................................................................... 30
V asey ........................................................................................................... 31
O their G rasses ................................................................. ........................ 31
PLANTING AND MAINTAINING GRASS PASTURES .......................................-... 32










Grass Pastures in Central Florida
E. M. HODGES, D. W. JONES and W. G. KIRK


Introduction
Pasture improvement has progressed from an unknown and
questionable innovation to a sound practice giving full value to
the livestock industry. A major factor in the future of Florida
cattle is the continuing development and use of productive and
nutritious pastures.
While new grasses and planted pastures are increasingly
important, the native range continues to be the foundation of
the Florida beef cattle business. Some cattle are kept on
improved pasture continuously, but most of them have access
to native grazing land during at least part of the year. Many
skillful and experienced ranchers are maintaining their herds,
at a profit, entirely on native grazing land. The carrying
capacity of an area may be increased by improving part of it
to be used for winter grazing. When this is done, planted and
fertilized pastures should be managed to supply feed when the

Fig. 1.-Calves sired by Brahman and Shorthorn bulls grazed mixed
Carpet-Bahia pasture in October. Grass should be reserved to supply
enough roughage during fall and winter.
jili^ -~i l~*- .i -^ ^ ^ ^,-,. -w IT~








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


native range is poorest. This method of handling yields sub-
stantial returns from improved pasture and permits more
efficient use of native land. Fall weaning of calves (Fig. 1) is
an instance where high quality grazing has special value.
Most improved pastures in central Florida are devoted to
beef production, but dairymen are becoming aware of the value
of high quality pasture for reducing feed costs and maintaining
the health of cattle during much of the year.
Pasture improvement is a long-term project. It should re-
ceive careful planning and not be entered into either hastily or
without serious consideration of the problems involved. Upkeep,
as well as initial cost, needs to be considered, since adequate
financing is an essential part of a pasture plan.
Both practical experience and technical information are avail-
able in pasture improvement work. The 1948 USDA Yearbook
contains much information on grasses for all parts of the United
States. Annual reports of the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Stations contain data not yet published elsewhere. Station
Bulletins 390, 403, 409, and 453 contain information on fertili-
zation and grazing of improved pastures. Of this group,
Bulletin 409 contains the most information on general pasture
improvement. Local agricultural agencies and cattlemen who
have established pastures should be consulted when making
plans to plant improved grasses. The practices recommended
here are general and may be modified to meet individual
situations.

Land Choice, Clearing and Preparation
Choice. To produce the most feed and highest returns from
pastures, select the best soil available. Planting pasture on
drouthy or poorly drained land usually is poor economy. Even
a medium-cost practice such as chopping for palmetto control
is of doubtful value on an inferior area.
Location of water supplies, drainage ditches and fences will
influence the choice of land for intensive pasture improvement.
Convenience of management is very important and should be
considered in picking a suitable area. The cost of comparatively
small items, such as a fence or an easily replaceable well, should
not outweigh convenience of management in selecting a site.
Most ranches have land which is both conveniently located
and reasonably well suited for improvement purposes. With








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


native range is poorest. This method of handling yields sub-
stantial returns from improved pasture and permits more
efficient use of native land. Fall weaning of calves (Fig. 1) is
an instance where high quality grazing has special value.
Most improved pastures in central Florida are devoted to
beef production, but dairymen are becoming aware of the value
of high quality pasture for reducing feed costs and maintaining
the health of cattle during much of the year.
Pasture improvement is a long-term project. It should re-
ceive careful planning and not be entered into either hastily or
without serious consideration of the problems involved. Upkeep,
as well as initial cost, needs to be considered, since adequate
financing is an essential part of a pasture plan.
Both practical experience and technical information are avail-
able in pasture improvement work. The 1948 USDA Yearbook
contains much information on grasses for all parts of the United
States. Annual reports of the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Stations contain data not yet published elsewhere. Station
Bulletins 390, 403, 409, and 453 contain information on fertili-
zation and grazing of improved pastures. Of this group,
Bulletin 409 contains the most information on general pasture
improvement. Local agricultural agencies and cattlemen who
have established pastures should be consulted when making
plans to plant improved grasses. The practices recommended
here are general and may be modified to meet individual
situations.

Land Choice, Clearing and Preparation
Choice. To produce the most feed and highest returns from
pastures, select the best soil available. Planting pasture on
drouthy or poorly drained land usually is poor economy. Even
a medium-cost practice such as chopping for palmetto control
is of doubtful value on an inferior area.
Location of water supplies, drainage ditches and fences will
influence the choice of land for intensive pasture improvement.
Convenience of management is very important and should be
considered in picking a suitable area. The cost of comparatively
small items, such as a fence or an easily replaceable well, should
not outweigh convenience of management in selecting a site.
Most ranches have land which is both conveniently located
and reasonably well suited for improvement purposes. With







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


new grass varieties and improved practices, productive pastures
are being established on locations varying from high, dry, sandy
soil to low lands subject to brief flooding during heavy rainfall.
Clearing.-Stumps are a serious nuisance on land to be planted
to pasture. They mar the appearance of the range, slow down
tractor work and cause machinery breakage. Clearing land for
farming ahead of pasture planting and salvaging the stumps for
turpentine and rosin will reduce the pasture cost.
Some of the most productive land is covered with trees and
dense underbrush. Although the natural fertility of such areas
is high, the expense of clearing often is prohibitive. Where
hammock land adjoins improved areas or is near pens and ranch
buildings it may be desirable to clear it for pasture. Some
densely covered places are cleared to help in gathering cattle.
In preparing land, ranchers often remove every tree and bush,
and with them go all shade and shelter for cattle and cover for
wildlife. Well-placed clumps of trees add to the value and
appearance of a pasture and should be left for shade.
Preparation.-The purpose of land preparation is two-fold:
1, destruction of native growth and 2, formation of a firm, mellow
seedbed. Palmetto growth presents the most serious land prep-
aration problem in many places about Florida. Only the
heaviest disks and plows will kill this plant. Special sweep
blades are being used to cut under the palmetto stem on prairie
land and, to an increasing extent, on cut-over areas. This
machine, known as a webb plow, permits 100 percent killing of
palmetto. Unless the original preparation is thorough, and sur-
viving plants are chopped or mowed, palmetto will come back
in a pasture. Chemicals to destroy palmetto are being tested,
but are not yet available for use.
The only satisfactory time to get land in shape for grass is
before planting. Incomplete preparation will produce a rough
surface with too many weeds and a slow start of grass, and will
raise the final cost. Twice over with a heavy tandem disk has
been standard for land preparation. However, this often
leaves the ground rough and only partially destroys native
vegetation. A third cutting with a disk or heavy chopper with a
drag for levelling would do a thorough job.
An excellent seedbed may be obtained by first cutting it with
a heavy chopper and following with a disk. This reduces the
ridging effect often produced by disking and gives effective con-
trol of native plants. When a chopper is used for all the prepara-







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tion it is necessary to go over the land more times than when
the disk is employed.
About six inches is a feasible depth to work land in preparing
for pasture., Excessive depth should be avoided and heavy
pasture equipment won't work satisfactorily at a shallower
depth, especially if palmetto and other heavy plants are to be
destroyed. surface drying and, on thin land, mixes the black surface layer
too much with the sand beneath.
Regardless of the machine used, the best stand and growth
of grass are obtained when initial clearing of the land is done
6 to 12 months before planting. Several months should elapse
between first cutting and final seedbed preparation near planting
time. Grass planted in turfy, freshly cut land does not make
efficient use of fertilizer and may get off to a bad start.
Land cleared for improved pasture more than a year before
planting often becomes infested with annual grasses and weeds
and the plant food released when the sod is broken nourishes
undesirable plants or is lost through leaching.

Planting Grass
In establishing improved pastures, landowners should follow
proven, satisfactory methods. (Careful attention to soil moisture,
seed quality and coverage will help avoid failures in planting
grass. Failures caused by unsatisfactory methods have dis-
couraged many cattlemen who were just starting to produce
better pastures.
Date of Planting.-The planting date in central Florida is
determined by: 1, soil, well prepared and moist; 2, planting
material, either seed or vegetation, available; 3, men and equip-
ment ready to do the job.
A plentiful supply of soil moisture at planting time is the best
possible guarantee of a good stand of grass, whether set by
vegetative parts or from seed. Planting at the onset of the
rainy season, when a long, dry season is least likely, is the most
reliable practice. Scalding and loss of young plants in the
summer rains are seldom serious problems if soil fertility con-
ditions are good. However, excellent results can be obtained
in this area from fall and winter planting if the soil is moist
and well prepared. Grass planted on land that has been broken
for several months suffers less from drouth than that on turfy,
newly cut ground.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tion it is necessary to go over the land more times than when
the disk is employed.
About six inches is a feasible depth to work land in preparing
for pasture., Excessive depth should be avoided and heavy
pasture equipment won't work satisfactorily at a shallower
depth, especially if palmetto and other heavy plants are to be
destroyed. surface drying and, on thin land, mixes the black surface layer
too much with the sand beneath.
Regardless of the machine used, the best stand and growth
of grass are obtained when initial clearing of the land is done
6 to 12 months before planting. Several months should elapse
between first cutting and final seedbed preparation near planting
time. Grass planted in turfy, freshly cut land does not make
efficient use of fertilizer and may get off to a bad start.
Land cleared for improved pasture more than a year before
planting often becomes infested with annual grasses and weeds
and the plant food released when the sod is broken nourishes
undesirable plants or is lost through leaching.

Planting Grass
In establishing improved pastures, landowners should follow
proven, satisfactory methods. (Careful attention to soil moisture,
seed quality and coverage will help avoid failures in planting
grass. Failures caused by unsatisfactory methods have dis-
couraged many cattlemen who were just starting to produce
better pastures.
Date of Planting.-The planting date in central Florida is
determined by: 1, soil, well prepared and moist; 2, planting
material, either seed or vegetation, available; 3, men and equip-
ment ready to do the job.
A plentiful supply of soil moisture at planting time is the best
possible guarantee of a good stand of grass, whether set by
vegetative parts or from seed. Planting at the onset of the
rainy season, when a long, dry season is least likely, is the most
reliable practice. Scalding and loss of young plants in the
summer rains are seldom serious problems if soil fertility con-
ditions are good. However, excellent results can be obtained
in this area from fall and winter planting if the soil is moist
and well prepared. Grass planted on land that has been broken
for several months suffers less from drouth than that on turfy,
newly cut ground.








Grass Pastures in Central Florida


Seeding improved grasses on old crop land has been generally
disappointing. When old field land is put into pasture it should
be planted in the fall because the risk of dry weather is partially
offset by lower temperatures which reduce growth of weeds and
give new grass a chance to get started.
Seed.-Most pasture grasses that have been in use for several
years are grown from seed. Only seed having a high percentage
of germination and purity should be used. Planting rates for
some of the common varieties are shown in Table. 1.
TABLE 1.-SEEDING RATES OF PASTURE GRASSES.
Grass Variety Rate per Acre
Pounds
Carpet ................................................ 5-10
Common Bahia ................................ 15'
Pensacola Bahia ............................... 10
Common Bermuda .............................. 5-10
Vasey ........................ .......................... 5-10
Rhodes .....................-- ........................... 5-10

Vegetative Plantings.-Many grasses produce sprouts and
roots when underground and upright stems, crowns and sur-
face runners are partially buried in moist ground. Several
varieties that produce no seed and can be planted only by vegeta-
tive parts have been found desirable for pasture use in recent
years.
Grass roots themselves cannot produce new plants, but under-
ground runners or rhizomes of the Tifton Bermudas and Torpedo
grass make excellent planting material. These rhizomes and
the stubby, ground-level stems that make up the crown of the
plant do not dry out as quickly as the leafy, upright stems.
They are, however, much more difficult to obtain and require
either excessive hand labor or special equipment to plant a large
area. Crowns and rhizomes can be used when top growth is not
available, thus lengthening the planting season.
Mowing Pangola or improved Bermuda when it is about two
feet high is the most widely used means of obtaining vegetative
plantings (Fig. 2). Young, fine stems or extremely green,
succulent growth dry out quickly and are not as suitable for
planting as coarser, more mature stems. However, stems more
than two feet high often become tangled and difficult to mow
and spread. A mower in good mechanical condition is required
for harvesting grass-planting material. Hand cutting is out of
the question and worn-out mowers will not handle Pangola
satisfactorily.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Spring-tooth harrows and ordinary hay rakes can be used to
obtain Pangola surface runners or stolons for planting. Pangola
crowns are excellent for winter or early planting, but special
equipment is needed to loosen and gather them.
Vegetative Planting Plots.-To develop pastures from vege-
tatively propagated grass, the nursery plot should be planted a
year in advance. If possible, locate the plot on land not pre-
viously cultivated. Many plots set on old land have produced
unsatisfactory materials because the first mowings were mixed
with weeds and undesirable grasses.
Seed plots should be treated with at least 500 pounds per acre
of 6-6-6 or a similar complete fertilizer two or three months
before harvesting for planting. For instance, grass fertilized
in February should be ready to cut for planting in May, if the
weather is warm and moist. Spring drouth, however, frequently
delays growth until June or even later.
Mowing and removing all of the grass from an area for either
planting or hay, is a heavy drain on soil fertility. Unless the

Fig. 2.-Mowing and loading Pangola for planting. Too tall for easy
handling, this grass nevertheless was excellent for planting.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


necessary elements are replaced by fertilization, the next cutting
may be sharply reduced. When one or more crops of grass have
been removed and rapid growth is desired, an increased rate of
nitrogen may be necessary. However, excessive fertilization of
seed blocks will produce leafy, succulent grass that does not root
as well as firm, stemmy grass.
Light crops of grass may be harvested from four to six
months after planting, but full production seldom is obtained in
less than a year. At peak growth, a single cutting from one
acre of thick grass will provide 10 to 15 tons of green material,
enough to plant 20 to 50 acres of pasture.
Vegetative material has been planted at widely varying rates
per acre. Five hundred pounds of clean grass to the acre usually
is sufficient, but half that amount will produce a stand if care-
fully scattered under favorable conditions. The planting rate
should be tripled, however, on old farm land where the soil is
infested with weeds. Bunching or scattering too much material
in one place has resulted only in a waste of grass.
Landowners who cannot raise their own stand for vegetative
materials should make advance arrangements to buy materials.
If possible, materials should be bought from a local source. This
reduces the delay between cutting and planting and allows the
rancher to work when weather conditions are favorable.
Scattering Seed and Stems.-Ways of planting grass vary
from hand methods to scattering seed from airplanes. Prob-
ably the best job is done by a mechanical seeder operating on
top of a packer or roller, but thousands of acres have been
seeded satisfactorily with hand-cranked seeders carried on foot,
horseback or jeep.
Most grass planted from vegetative parts has been thrown
by hand from a truck driven through the field ahead of covering
machinery.-Manure spreaders have been used with limited
success, but this method is more expensive, calling for added
equipment and saving little, if any, labor. This method has
produced reasonably uniform stands on large acreages.
An efficient device for planting grass is a tractor with a plat-
form bolted on front to carry planting material and men, and
pulling covering and packing machinery. This arrangement
makes it easy to get uniform distribution of grass and eliminates
drying of stems in the field. (Fig. 3). A single tractor unit
can plant from 15 to 20 acres a day, depending on the width of
the disc.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Several implements permitting two men to feed grass into
furrows have been built. The devices also plant, cover and pack
in one operation, giving good results on well-prepared areas.
More rugged equipment of similar design could be used on any
land to economize on planting material and power.
Coverage.-Many pasture plantings, particularly Bahia varie-
ties, have failed because seed was thrown on the ground and left
uncovered. Seed broadcast on freshly disked land can be
covered by a packer. If the soil surface becomes firm before
the seed is sown, light harrowing or disking is required.
Crowns and rhizomes may be cut into the ground with any
type of disk, but green hay cuttings are best covered by a heavy
one, with blades set at a slight angle. This presses the stems
into moist soil without burying them deeply enough to damage
the stand if planting is followed by excessively wet weather.
Choppers have been used with fair success, and any method of
coverage does well if moisture conditions are ideal. Vegetative
plantings will root without being covered when rain is constant.
Packing.-Sandy soils particularly need packing, even if they
are moist when disked or plowed. Surface soil will dry in a few
days if left in a turfy, loosened condition, and cause damage to

Fig. 3.-Scattering vegetative material from a tractor-mounted plat-
form. A seven-foot disk with 24-inch blades and followed by a cultipacker
completes the planting operation. The box seen mounted above the rolls
of the cultipacker is used for sowing seed.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


grass seedlings and sprouted stems. 'Firming the soil with a
packer encourages quick germination and rooting, reduces loss-
of surface moisture, and makes planting safe at times when the
soil would otherwise be too dry. Ridges and holes should be
eliminated before or at planting time, since smoothing them,
once the pasture is covered with a grass sod, is difficult and
expensive. In addition, a smooth surface reduces the cost of
fertilizing, mowing and chopping by permitting higher machine
speeds with less breakage.
Some packing machinery available for pasture work is not
rugged enough for central Florida conditions. However, im-
provements are being made and, with constant repair, the
present models can be operated satisfactorily. Some home-made
rollers are being used with good results. The Florida pasture
improvement program should make increasing use of soil pack-
ing and leveling equipment.

Lime and Fertilizer
,Any attempt to produce good pasture without regard to soil
fertility requirements is a mistake and can result only in failure.
Most sandy land is low in plant food and the necessary elements
must be added to produce satisfactory growth. More feed per
dollar of cost can be made on pastures well managed and
fertilized than from large acreages where plant foods are
neglected.
Lime.-Most central Florida soils are acid, having a pH of
4.0 to 5.0, and require the addition of lime when used for
improved pasture. Finely ground calcic and dolomitic limestone
are the materials most commonly used, with cost being the
determining factor. If magnesium is a limiting element in
pasture growth, however, dolomitic lime should be used. Other
soil conditioners, such as marl, may be useful in locations where
transportation or local supply make them desirable. Coarse
lime materials must be applied at very heavy rates to be effec-
tive. They cannot be recommended for general use because
costs of hauling and spreading are so high that the saving on
low purchase and long life of the treatment is lost.
Uniform recommendations for use of lime are impossible
because of soil differences. However, one ton per acre of ground
limestone will bring most sandy soils up a full unit in the pH
scale. Starting with a pH of 4.0 to 4.5, this results in a final
reading of 5.0 to 5.5, which is satisfactory for grass production.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


If the natural pH approaches 5.0, use a half-ton application.
Light rates of lime ordinarily are not recommended because one-
ton-per-acre treatment lasts longer and permits a reduction in
spreading costs. After four to five years of heavy production,
the pH of the surface soil will drop below 4.8 to 5.0 and it will
be necessary to add more lime. Bahia and Bermuda varieties
have a higher lime requirement than Pangola and Torpedo
grasses. The latter two grasses will establish stands at low
lime levels but growth and mineral content will be increased
by lime.
Fertilizer.-Lime is necessary for the most economical pro-
duction of pasture on very acid land, but fertilizer materials
must be supplied also for full benefit. Pangola and other grasses
in good condition for grazing contain, on a dry-weight basis, at
least 1.25 percent nitrogen (N), 0.25 percent phosphorus (P)
and 1.0 percent potassium (K), as well as varying amounts of
other elements. If any of these materials are lacking the yield
and feeding value of pasture grass are lowered.
Nitrogen.-Nitrogen is included in the fertilizer mixture to
increase growth and improve feed quality. Its relatively high
cost has encouraged the use of low percentages of the element in
pasture fertilizer mixtures. However, substitution of other
materials for nitrogen should be avoided, since pasture value is
largely dependent upon an adequate supply of this element.
Fertilizer nitrogen is obtained from two general sources: 1,
inorganic compounds, including nitrate of soda, sulfate of am-
monia, ammoniated superphosphate, ammonium nitrate and
others; 2, organic materials such as tankage, castor pomace,
tobacco stems, urea and calcium cyanamid. A form of nitrogen
known as anhydrous ammonia is used extensively in field crop
production, and its value for pasture is now being investigated.
Organic materials, except urea and cyanamid, supply nitrogen
for plant use over a longer time than most inorganic sources.
They also help prevent fertilizer mixtures from becoming hard
and lumpy. However, organic nitrogen obtained from plant and
animal substances is more costly per unit and should be used
sparingly, if at all, in pasture fertilizers. Natural organic
materials, supplying 5 to 10 percent of the total N in the mix-
ture, may be used to improve the mechanical condition of a
mixed fertilizer when a delay between mixing and distribution
is likely. Mixed fertilizers containing no nitrogen from plant
or animal sources are now being used on most pastures.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


Phosphorus.-This element is necessary for the structure of
plant cells and growth of animals. With few exceptions, central
Florida soils are deficient in this important nutrient.
Both finely ground raw rock phosphate and superphosphate
have been used extensively in pasture fertilization. Rock phos-
phate is particularly adapted to acid soil, while superphosphate
should not be used on acid land without lime additions.
Potassium.-This element is necessary for growth and makes
up an important part of the plant. Muriate of potash (KC1) is
the principal source of fertilizer potassium here. Most Florida
soils are lacking in potassium, making an upkeep program
essential for a heavy producing pasture.
Minor Elements.-Minor elements, such as copper, manganese
and zinc, encourage more rapid establishment and larger pro-
duction. Copper is most commonly lacking in the soils of
peninsular Florida. Pasture not previously fertilized should be
treated with the equivalent of 15 pounds of copper sulfate per
acre unless local experience shows this to be unnecessary.
Old farm land may contain enough secondary elements

Fig. 4.-Minor elements added to a complete fertilizer and lime treat-
ment made the difference between the full stand of Pensacola Bahia on the
right and the thin, weedy stand on the left. Photographed one year after
planting.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


to satisfy the needs of pasture grass. These materials should
be mixed and distributed with other soil nutrients. Fertilizer
containing minor elements should be spread as soon as possible
after mixing to avoid its becoming lumpy and wet.
Carpet grass and the Bahias have made better growth when
treated with 15 pounds each of copper and manganese sulfate
and 10 pounds of zinc sulfate per acre than when treated with
copper only (Fig. 4). Pangola is most likely to be limited by a
shortage of copper, while the Bermuda varieties give little or no
response to minor elements on sandy land! Torpedo grass
pastures have been established in many places without the ad-
dition of copper or any other secondary element. Observations
at the Range Cattle Station at Ona show that the effects of
minor elements last four to six years.
Single Element and Unbalanced Fertilization.-Since most
sandy soils are low in all plant food elements, strong responses
often are obtained from treatment with one fertilizer material,
such as lime or phosphate. However, even though unbalanced
treatments do produce clearly visible benefits, a pasture fertiliza-
tion plan that supplies some plant foods while others remain
seriously deficient has small chance for success and is poor
economy. Feed production is most economical where all plant
food requirements of the grass are provided in balanced
amounts.
Fertilizer Formulas.-Mixed fertilizers are commonly de-
scribed by formula numbers such as 4-12-6 or 6-6-6. These
figures show the percentages of available plant food contained
in the mixture, with nitrogen (N) listed first, phosphoric acid
(P205) second and potash (K20) third. These are expressed in
a form required by Florida law and are always shown in the
above order. Slightly different mixtures having similar per-
centage formulas will produce similar results on pastures.
Fertilizing New Plantings.--Newly-planted seed or vegetative
material on virgin land should receive 250 to 300 pounds per acre
of 4-12-6 or a similar mixture at planting time. Heavier rates
at planting are wasteful, since time is required for a sod to form
and the grass does not use much fertilizer in the early weeks
of growth.
Treatment for Established Grass.-Thick sods use more plant
food than new seedings and should be fertilized at increased
rates and -with more nitrogen. Complete mixtures, such as
6-6-6 or 5-7-5, applied at 400 to 500 pounds per acre give good







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


results. Higher analysis mixtures broadcast at lower rates may
be used to reduce hauling and spreading costs.
Time of Fertilization.-New pastures should be fertilized at
planting time unless the land is known to have enough natural
fertility to give young plants a good start. High hammock
soils and much of the better citrus-type soil will permit grasses
to make a good stand without added fertilizer. Benefits are
often obtained from fertilization even on"these areas. (Improved
grass on most flatwoods soils requires fertilizer as soon as
planted. Failure to fertilize immediately after or just before
the grass is planted on such land has been responsible for many
failures.
Pasture grass makes most efficient use of fertilizer applied
during warm weather on soil that is moist but not flooded. Some
fertilizer is lost when heavy rains follow immediately after
application. Grass grows very little during cool or excessively
dry weather and only limited benefit is received from fertiliza-
tion at such times.
The best quality grass is produced during the first two months
after fertilization. February is the time to treat the pasture
for best early spring grazing. Fall growth is stimulated by
fertilizing during August or early September if the surface soil
Fig. 5.-Distributing fertilizer with a drop-type spreader. At 500
pounds per acre this outfit can cover 25 acres a day on well-prepared
land.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


is not flooded. The longer warm weather continues into fall, the
more growth occurs from late applications of fertilizer. Spring
applications produce the most growth during the year, but fall
treatment is valuable for winter grazing purposes.
Improved grasses are not permanently damaged if not re-
fertilized every year, as was thought during early pasture
development years. Experience has shown that, once well estab-
lished, a pasture may be used for several years without retreat-
ment if it is not overstocked. However, a sharp decline in both
yield and feeding quality will occur and some plan will be needed
to produce the same amount of feed each year. If annual
fertilization of all improved pasture is not practical, treatment
of a different part each year will give best results.
On the other hand, it may be desirable under some conditions
to fertilize the same pastures more than once a year. Fertiliza-
tion in both spring and fall will increase forage production and
improve feeding quality. One application of a complete fertilizer
and one of a nitrogen fertilizer, using 30 pounds per acre of N
in each treatment, make a good combination. A fertilizer sup-
plying nitrogen only should never be used on soil that is low in
other plant food elements.
Spreading Fertilizer and Lime.-Both drop and centrifugal
type lime and fertilizer spreaders are being used in pasture
improvement. The drop type (Fig. 5) feeds lime or fertilizer
by a gear or agitator through a series of holes directly to the

Fig. 6-A centrifugal spreader working on an established pasture of
Pangola grass. This machine will cover more area than the drop-type
spreader and is better suited for use on rough land.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


ground. The centrifugal spreader pours the material onto a
rotating horizontal disc with ridges that throw the particles out
fan-wise (Fig. 6). Drop spreaders give a more uniform distribu-
tion and usually cover the ground more slowly than centrifugal
machines. Either type of machine, if operated carefully, will
do good work on pastures. Close attention must be given to
distribution equipment. Constant supervision by a competent
individual is the only guarantee of satisfactory application.
Uniformity of fertilizer application is of the utmost importance
in pasture improvement. An untreated strip may show up in a
pasture for several years and areas receiving excessively heavy
rates represent a waste of material.
(Lime and fertilizer do not require disking for mixing with
sandy soils. When applied to newly-worked land, they are
mixed with the soil by planting and packing operations, and
stirring them into a sod of improved grass may delay growth
several weeks.
Disking and Fertilization.-Most pasture grasses that form a
thick layer of roots and runners tend to become less productive,
make poor growth and appear yellow in color within two or
three years after planting. This condition, often referred to as
"sod bound," is a result of low plant food supplies. Disking or
chopping has a stimulating effect on some grasses, particularly
Bermuda, Torpedo and Para. Cultivation of the sod mixes
accumulated stems and roots with the soil, thins out the stand
and makes some nitrogen available to surviving plants. How-
ever, it tends to deplete soil organic matter and should be
alternated with fertilizer treatments. In addition, costs of these
treatments are high and a similar expenditure for fertilizer may
be more beneficial. Moderate cultivation will cause Carpet,
Bahia and Pangola to put out fresh growth under favorable
conditions, but it is not recommended as a general practice.

Management and Utilization
Fencing.-Fencing is essential to efficient and profitable use
of improved pasture. Animals get the most good from improved
grass available when the need is greatest. Pasturage can be
accumulated for the winter period only by keeping stock off
during the latter part of the growing season. Furthermore, a
sod that is kept eaten down to the sand produces less feed than
one allowed to maintain two to six inches of growth, depending
on the variety of grass.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


ground. The centrifugal spreader pours the material onto a
rotating horizontal disc with ridges that throw the particles out
fan-wise (Fig. 6). Drop spreaders give a more uniform distribu-
tion and usually cover the ground more slowly than centrifugal
machines. Either type of machine, if operated carefully, will
do good work on pastures. Close attention must be given to
distribution equipment. Constant supervision by a competent
individual is the only guarantee of satisfactory application.
Uniformity of fertilizer application is of the utmost importance
in pasture improvement. An untreated strip may show up in a
pasture for several years and areas receiving excessively heavy
rates represent a waste of material.
(Lime and fertilizer do not require disking for mixing with
sandy soils. When applied to newly-worked land, they are
mixed with the soil by planting and packing operations, and
stirring them into a sod of improved grass may delay growth
several weeks.
Disking and Fertilization.-Most pasture grasses that form a
thick layer of roots and runners tend to become less productive,
make poor growth and appear yellow in color within two or
three years after planting. This condition, often referred to as
"sod bound," is a result of low plant food supplies. Disking or
chopping has a stimulating effect on some grasses, particularly
Bermuda, Torpedo and Para. Cultivation of the sod mixes
accumulated stems and roots with the soil, thins out the stand
and makes some nitrogen available to surviving plants. How-
ever, it tends to deplete soil organic matter and should be
alternated with fertilizer treatments. In addition, costs of these
treatments are high and a similar expenditure for fertilizer may
be more beneficial. Moderate cultivation will cause Carpet,
Bahia and Pangola to put out fresh growth under favorable
conditions, but it is not recommended as a general practice.

Management and Utilization
Fencing.-Fencing is essential to efficient and profitable use
of improved pasture. Animals get the most good from improved
grass available when the need is greatest. Pasturage can be
accumulated for the winter period only by keeping stock off
during the latter part of the growing season. Furthermore, a
sod that is kept eaten down to the sand produces less feed than
one allowed to maintain two to six inches of growth, depending
on the variety of grass.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Cost of fence construction should be considered in planning a
pasture improvement program. Effective utilization of native
land, old fences and natural barriers will reduce expenses.
Managing Young Grass.-Animals should be kept off of young
grass at least two months after spring and summer planting,
and much longer following cool-season planting. This is true
despite the fact that some pastures have had cattle on them
from the day they were planted without apparent injury. Most
grasses will start under moderate grazing, but the rate of spread
is reduced and weeds and undesirable grasses often take up part
of the pasture area. Heavy grazing should be delayed until the
land is completely sodded.
A mower or close-blade chopper may be used to control heavy
weed growth on new pasture. Maintenance machines should not
be used on new plantings unless the area is completely overgrown
by weeds. Chopping young grass before the ground is sodded
may delay, rather than improve, Pangola. All maintenance
chopping should be done when the soil is moist. A weedy stand
of runner-producing grass is usually improved by disking or
chopping when there is plenty of soil moisture. Heavy grazing,
followed by several weeks of protection to permit vigorous
growth, will help sod over a fair stand that is heavily infected
with weedy grasses.
Pasture Productivity.-Without doubt the most often asked
question about improved pasture is "How much is needed to
support a cow?" Since seasonal, soil, fertilizer and variety
differences affect the amount of feed produced by a pasture,
there is no general rule on the number of cattle that can be fed
on a certain area. Two acres of Pangola pasture on average
flatwoods soil at the Range Cattle Station fertilized with 500
pounds of 5-10-5 per acre yearly have supported a mature cow
throughout the year and her calf to six months of age, with
some feed to spare. The cows and calves on this pasture during
1948, 1949 and 1950 produced a net yearly beef gain of 150
pounds per acre (Fig. 7). No supplemental feed was provided.
The same kind of pasture grazed by steers during the spring
and summer has yielded an average of 166 pounds of beef per
acre annually for six years. Most weight gain by steers is made
in the four months following spring fertilization. During this
time the grass depletes the supply of available plant food,
especially nitrogen, and gradually declines in feeding value.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


This decreased value is characterized by a drop in protein content
of the grass. Steers on experimental pastures at the Range
Cattle Station usually reach their top weight in July and gain
little or no more, although plenty of grass remains. If the
cattle are marketed or moved to better pasture when maximum
gains are reached, the remaining grass may equal a ton or more
of hay per acre. This left-over grass, although comparatively
low in protein, furnishes satisfactory roughage for maintenance
feeding during fall and winter months. It is superior to native
range in feeding value for fall and winter use but requires a
protein supplement to produce growth or fattening.

TABLE 2.-AVERAGE BEEF GAIN PER ACRE PER YEAR MADE BY YEARLING
AND TWO-YEAR-OLD STEERS GRAZING LIMED AND FERTILIZED PASTURE
DURING SPRING AND SUMMER, 1945-1949.

Grass Variety Beef Gain per Acre
Pounds
Carpet ............... ..... ......... 64
Common Bahia ..................................-- 86
Pensacola Bahia ................................... 139
Coastal Bermuda ............-----.............-------- 132
Pangola .......................... 166
Torpedo ...................... ...- .. 125*

Average of only two years of grazing on this variety.


Fig. 7.-Grade Brahman cows photographed April 1, 1949, after being
wintered entirely on Pangola, with no supplemental feed. This area
supported cattle during the summer, then was fertilized in September and
left ungrazed until January.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Beef yields of six grasses tested at the Range Cattle Station
are shown in Table 2. Pastures were treated with calcic lime at
one ton per acre every five years and with 500 pounds of 6-6-6
fertilizer per acre in the spring of each year.
Feeding Concentrates on Pasture.-Supplementary feeding
may be desirable when pasture quality falls below the level
required for growth and fattening. Three trials with feeding
citrus pellets to yearling and two-year-old steers on Carpet grass
pasture and two trials on Common Bahia have been completed.
The first trial of 112 days with steers on Carpet grass was started
on July 12, 1948, and the second and third trials of 120 days,
including both Carpet and Common Bahia, were begun on Au-
gust 6, 1949, and August 19, 1950. The citrus pellets, made up
of 40 pounds citrus meal, 35 pounds citrus molasses and 25
pounds cottonseed meal, contained 14 percent protein.
Average daily gain for the three trials of steers on Carpet
grass and receiving 7.7 pounds of pellets was 1.80 pounds, as
compared with 0.61 pounds for steers on the same kind of pasture
but getting no supplemental feed. Steers in two trials on
Common Bahia pasture made an average daily gain of 0.23
pounds, while those also fed 8.1 pounds of pellets daily gained
1.65 pounds.
Herbage low in protein loses palatability as well as nutritional
value, and cattle eat less per day. Supplying a protein concen-
trate to cattle grazing on mature grass improves the balance of
the ration, stimulates the appetite and increases daily gain. In-
creased daily gain permits carrying animals to a higher market
grade, and supplemental feeding allows cattlemen to sell when the
market is right rather than when pasture conditions dictate.
Low quality cattle or those having a nervous disposition do not
fit into a supplemental feeding plan.
Improved and Native Pasture Work Well' Together.-Most
improved pasture in central Florida is grazed in combination
with large blocks of native range. This arrangement is most
valuable when planted grass is used to supply feed during winter
when native pasture is poorest. Grass can be provided for
winter grazing by keeping cattle off improved pasture during
September, October and November. Pangola is the best grass
for winter use, but any improved variety'may be used. Both
planted pasture and native grass will supply more winter feed if
left ungrazed during late summer and fall.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Beef yields of six grasses tested at the Range Cattle Station
are shown in Table 2. Pastures were treated with calcic lime at
one ton per acre every five years and with 500 pounds of 6-6-6
fertilizer per acre in the spring of each year.
Feeding Concentrates on Pasture.-Supplementary feeding
may be desirable when pasture quality falls below the level
required for growth and fattening. Three trials with feeding
citrus pellets to yearling and two-year-old steers on Carpet grass
pasture and two trials on Common Bahia have been completed.
The first trial of 112 days with steers on Carpet grass was started
on July 12, 1948, and the second and third trials of 120 days,
including both Carpet and Common Bahia, were begun on Au-
gust 6, 1949, and August 19, 1950. The citrus pellets, made up
of 40 pounds citrus meal, 35 pounds citrus molasses and 25
pounds cottonseed meal, contained 14 percent protein.
Average daily gain for the three trials of steers on Carpet
grass and receiving 7.7 pounds of pellets was 1.80 pounds, as
compared with 0.61 pounds for steers on the same kind of pasture
but getting no supplemental feed. Steers in two trials on
Common Bahia pasture made an average daily gain of 0.23
pounds, while those also fed 8.1 pounds of pellets daily gained
1.65 pounds.
Herbage low in protein loses palatability as well as nutritional
value, and cattle eat less per day. Supplying a protein concen-
trate to cattle grazing on mature grass improves the balance of
the ration, stimulates the appetite and increases daily gain. In-
creased daily gain permits carrying animals to a higher market
grade, and supplemental feeding allows cattlemen to sell when the
market is right rather than when pasture conditions dictate.
Low quality cattle or those having a nervous disposition do not
fit into a supplemental feeding plan.
Improved and Native Pasture Work Well' Together.-Most
improved pasture in central Florida is grazed in combination
with large blocks of native range. This arrangement is most
valuable when planted grass is used to supply feed during winter
when native pasture is poorest. Grass can be provided for
winter grazing by keeping cattle off improved pasture during
September, October and November. Pangola is the best grass
for winter use, but any improved variety'may be used. Both
planted pasture and native grass will supply more winter feed if
left ungrazed during late summer and fall.







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


An application of fertilizer at the time cattle are removed
from an improved pasture during late summer will stimulate
growth and permit accumulation of more grass for the winter.
A top-dressing of 30 pounds nitrogen or 500 pounds of 6-6-6
fertilizer per acre will give good results. Nitrogen is most
suitable on an area treated with phosphorus and potash during
the spring. Fertilization for fall production may be done as soon
as possible after mid-August, taking care to avoid putting it on
when the soil is water-soaked.
Frost Resistance and Grazing Value.-Thick grass protects
lower leaves and stems from light frost. Even a tender variety
can supply some green feed after the first frost if it is tall and
dense when cold strikes. Freezing causes a small reduction in
protein content of mature grass, but cattle graze it readily and
remain in good condition if the pasture is not overstocked.
(Fig. 7).
Rain also reduces the feed value of frozen grass cured on the
stem. There is no known poisonous effect of frost on the grass
varieties discussed in this bulletin, but photosensitization has
been reported when cattle grazed Bermuda grass muck pastures'
after frost.
Freezing temperatures will damage grasses more in some
cases than others. Variations in air humidity, soil moisture and
plant maturity affect the amount of injury inflicted at a given
temperature.
The grasses may be compared for their cold resistance as
follows:
Moderately Resistant Intermediate Tender
Ky. 31 Fescue Rhodes Common Bermuda
Alta Fescue Carpet Torpedo
Vasey 99 Bermuda Common Bahia
Dallis Coastal Bermuda Pangola
Pensacola Bahia Carib
St. Augustine Para
Cogon

Moderately-resistant grasses may remain green at 27' F.
Temperatures much colder than this are endured by the fescues,
while other varieties are damaged occasionally at this tempera-
ture. Growth of even these resistant varieties is severely cur-
tailed by continuous low temperatures. The grasses listed as

1 Kidder, R. W., D. W. Beardsley and T. C. Erwin. Photosensitization
control is now possible. Fla. Cattleman and Livestock Jour. 14: 8: 68-
70. 1950.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


being intermediate in cold resistance commonly are damaged at
temperatures between 27' and 340 F. Tender varieties usually
are damaged by frost formation, even at temperatures well above
320 F. These grasses may be killed outright by severe cold
weather.
Mineral Supplements.-Copper, cobalt, iron and phosphorus
are the elements most commonly lacking in pasture grasses,
while the supply of calcium is usually sufficient for animal needs.
Cattle on improved pasture should have a complete mineral
supplement before them at all times. Lime and fertilizer treat-
ments increase the calcium and phosphorus percentage of grass,
but should not be depended upon to supply all the mineral needs
of the animals. There is no evidence that minor elements
applied to the grass are more beneficial to cattle than those
provided in a mineral supplement.
Hay.-Locally-produced hay in central Florida has been in
small supply and of low quality. Some hay has been brought in
from other areas, but shipping costs are high. New grasses and
production methods have made available heavy crops of nutri-
tious forage suitable for hay. High humidity and rainfall during
the season when the grass for hay is available make drying
difficult, thus retarding hay production. Small crops can be
dried under natural conditions in spring and fall, but they are
in constant danger of rain damage. However, the introduction
of pickup balers, together with improved equipment for arti-
ficial drying, have made possible a beginning on the production
of high quality hay in Florida. Procedures for drying are under
study and information is available in Station Bulletin 477.
The expense of producing high quality grass, an item some-
times forgotten, should be included in figuring the cost of hay.
Grass should be cut for hay by heading time-while still green,
leafy and high in protein-to avoid loss of protein, particularly
if artificial heat is to be used for curing.
Pasture Insects.-Army Worms and Grass Worms.-The fall
army worm, Laphygma frugiperda (A. & S.), and the grass-
worm, Mocis repanda (F.), have been found in central Florida
pastures during summer and fall. They feed on all common
grasses, and fall-fertilized pastures are a favorite for attack. A
heavy infestation will strip all edible forage from an area and
leave it worthless for grazing until new growth is made.
The larvae or caterpillars of these insects are striped, varying







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


in color from greenish-gray through brown to black. The worms
are barely visible when hatched and reach a mature length of 1
to 11/2 inches. When fully grown the larvae form brown pupal
cases from which come brown to dark gray moths having an inch
wing spread.
There are no means of predicting or preventing an attack of
these worms. Effective control can be obtained through close
observation of pastures and application of control measures
while the worms are small. They are difficult to see in this stage
and drop to the ground when disturbed. Unexplained notching
of leaf edges or excreta pellets on the ground in summer and fall
should prompt close examination for worm infestation.
Control measures for the fall army worm are well established
and were described by A. N. Tissot.2 The following treatments,
based on his recommendations, were tested on grass worms with
satisfactory results at the Range Cattle Station: 1, 25 pounds
per acre of 10% toxaphene dust; 2, 25 pounds per acre of 5%
DDT dust; 3, 25 pounds per acre of 5% chlordane dust; and 4,
11/2 pounds 50% wettable DDT in 65 gallons water per acre.
Toxaphene killed the worms within 24 hours, while DDT and
chlordane applications required up to 48 hours.
Aphids.-A small yellow plant louse known as the sorghum
aphid, Sipha flava, (Forbes), attacked Pangola grass at the
Range Cattle Station in 1948 and 1950. Most prevalent in the
fall, this insect has caused enough damage to fall-fertilized
grass to reduce feed production by 50 percent or more.
Most aphids are on the under side of the foliage and are the
same color as the leaves. Yellow patches develop rapidly in the
field during warm, dry weather and may, under favorable con-
ditions, later cover large areas. Advanced stages give the
pasture a dried and stunted appearance.
Spraying with 1 pound of 15 percent wettable parathion powder
in 100 gallons of water per acre killed this aphid in November 1950
(see below, Insecticide Residues). Frost followed the treatment
by about two weeks and no observations on reinfestation were
possible.
Other Insects.-Webworms and mole-crickets have caused
little damage to central Florida pastures. Attacks by species
described as a "wireworm" were reported in 1950. The worm
2 Tissot, A. N. Armyworm control means spraying of pastures. Fla.
Cattleman and Livestock Jour. 14: 12: 46, 48. 1950.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


appeared in new plantings of Pangola, drilling into the stem
base, damaging the growing point and making the entire plant
appear ragged and unthrifty, Leafhoppers become numerous
enough to cause damage at certain seasons.
Insecticide Residues.-Grass should not be grazed for two
weeks after being treated for insect control. Parathion is
particularly toxic to humans and the most rigid precautions
should be taken in handling it.

Grass Varieties
Research and exploration are constantly finding new grass
varieties for pasture improvement. Since a testing period is
necessary, however, final judgment cannot be passed on any
recently developed or introduced species.
Grasses differ in their value for forage production under
varying conditions of growth and management( Each has some
weakness and none is ideal for all conditions. 'A cattleman who
plants large areas of improved grass should use at least two
varieties, each in a pure stand. When different varieties are
mixed together the more palatable grass will be grazed too
closely while the other is left to become tough and undesirable.
Disease and insect attacks and unfavorable weather are less
likely to damage all of the pasture at the same time if more than
one variety is used in different plots. In choosing grasses for a
given location, local soil conditions, management plans and
personal 'preferences should be considered!
Bahia Grass.-Common. Bahia was one of the first grasses
planted for pasture improvement in Florida. Leaves vary up to
one-half inch in width, are sharp-pointed and dark green in
color. Seed is produced in a robust, two-pronged seed-head on
a stalk varying from one to two feet high. The plants enlarge
by stout runners not more than 12 inches annually. All varie-
ties of Bahia (Paspalum notatum Flugge) are deep-rooted and
form very firm, compact sods.
Pensacola Bahia, first selected near Pensacola, Florida, has
the same deep rooting habit as the common variety. It is
narrow-leafed and the seed stalks are taller and more slender
than those of Common Bahia. The seed is smaller, germinates
more readily and produces a sod in a shorter time than Common
Bahia. Stolons of the Pensacola strain may grow two feet in a
year if the ground has not become completely sodded. It suffers
less damage from leaf diseases than Common Bahia and is more







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


appeared in new plantings of Pangola, drilling into the stem
base, damaging the growing point and making the entire plant
appear ragged and unthrifty, Leafhoppers become numerous
enough to cause damage at certain seasons.
Insecticide Residues.-Grass should not be grazed for two
weeks after being treated for insect control. Parathion is
particularly toxic to humans and the most rigid precautions
should be taken in handling it.

Grass Varieties
Research and exploration are constantly finding new grass
varieties for pasture improvement. Since a testing period is
necessary, however, final judgment cannot be passed on any
recently developed or introduced species.
Grasses differ in their value for forage production under
varying conditions of growth and management( Each has some
weakness and none is ideal for all conditions. 'A cattleman who
plants large areas of improved grass should use at least two
varieties, each in a pure stand. When different varieties are
mixed together the more palatable grass will be grazed too
closely while the other is left to become tough and undesirable.
Disease and insect attacks and unfavorable weather are less
likely to damage all of the pasture at the same time if more than
one variety is used in different plots. In choosing grasses for a
given location, local soil conditions, management plans and
personal 'preferences should be considered!
Bahia Grass.-Common. Bahia was one of the first grasses
planted for pasture improvement in Florida. Leaves vary up to
one-half inch in width, are sharp-pointed and dark green in
color. Seed is produced in a robust, two-pronged seed-head on
a stalk varying from one to two feet high. The plants enlarge
by stout runners not more than 12 inches annually. All varie-
ties of Bahia (Paspalum notatum Flugge) are deep-rooted and
form very firm, compact sods.
Pensacola Bahia, first selected near Pensacola, Florida, has
the same deep rooting habit as the common variety. It is
narrow-leafed and the seed stalks are taller and more slender
than those of Common Bahia. The seed is smaller, germinates
more readily and produces a sod in a shorter time than Common
Bahia. Stolons of the Pensacola strain may grow two feet in a
year if the ground has not become completely sodded. It suffers
less damage from leaf diseases than Common Bahia and is more








Grass Pastures in Central Florida


resistant to frost. Seed production, combined with grazing and
hay, have made this a profitable grass on many well-drained
upland soils. Efficient utilization permits the growing of this
variety entirely for pasture without consideration of seed
values. Pensacola Bahia has consistently given' higher beef
gains per acre than Common Bahia at the Range Cattle Station
and is recommended over the latter variety.
Paraguay or Texas Bahia has been planted on limited acre-
ages. It is narrow-leafed and hairy, forming a dense sod. Seed
supply is limited and there is no indication that it equals Pensa-
cola in grazing value.
A more-recently developed type, known as Argentine Bahia, is
broad-leafed like common, germinates and spreads like Pensa-
cola and promises more resistance to leaf disease than either.
This variety has not yet proven a superior grass at the Range
Cattle Station. More information on this variety is available in
Station. Circular S-31.
All the Bahias are exceptionally fibrous when mature and
should be grazed in the vegetative stage. Mowing, chopping or
burning may be necessary to remove Bahia that has become
tough and unpalatable to grazing animals.
Bermuda Grass.-Probably the first improved pasture in
Florida was of common or "garden" Bermuda grass, which so
readily invades cultivated and fertilized land. The herbage
produced is very nutritious because it grows only where land
is of moderate to high fertility and it is a "strong" grass.
Common Bermuda is less productive than several other grasses
and little is being planted now. Most common Bermuda grass
seed is shipped into the state. Arizona Bermuda is the same as
the local common variety, but seed is produced out-of-state and
given a point-of-origin name. Coastal Bermuda and 99 Ber-
muda, two varieties developed at the Coastal Plain Experiment
Station, Tifton, Georgia, are higher-yielding than common and
not as seriously damaged by leaf spot disease. Neither of these
produces seed and both must be planted by stems and runners.
Coastal is the most widely-used, 99 is similar in yield and
adaptation.
A large native variety known as Giant, or St. Lucie, Bermuda
equals the vigor of the Tifton selections, but is damaged ser-
iously by leaf diseases. It will tolerate more water and lower fer-
tility levels than Coastal or 99, but is less productive under good
conditions. St. Lucie Bermuda is propagated vegetatively.








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


None of the Bermuda varieties (Cynodon dactylon (L) Pers.)
should be planted under conditions of low fertility or poor
drainage.
Carpet Grass.-Although only limited amounts have been
planted since 1945, there is a larger acreage of Carpet (Axonopus
affinis Chase) than of any other improved grass in the state at
present. It was seeded extensively in the early years of pasture
development, when few other adapted varieties were available.
This grass spreads by seeds and surface runners and survives
under very close grazing. Seeds are scattered everywhere and
Carpet grass grows as a weed in overgrazed Bermuda and
Pangola pastures. Since it comes in only under heavy grazing,
its invasion may be a sign that the pasture is being crowded.
Carpet grass will compete on an even basis with Bahia on moist
land, but will not subdue it even under the heaviest possible
grazing.
Carpet grass on infertile land makes low quality feed and,
because it grows on such land, has been considered a poor grass.
It makes excellent quality pasture on fertile land, but is giving
way to more productive varieties in most new plantings. Carpet
grass on moist land makes a highly productive combination with
winter clover, but its low production record as a pure variety
makes it of doubtful value for new plantings. (See Station
Bulletin 351 and Press Bulletin 654 for further discussion of
clover pastures.)
Because it is so difficult to subdue, Carpet grass sod ordinarily
should not be broken up to plant more productive varieties. New
land may cost somewhat more to prepare for planting, but the
competition of surviving Carpet grass with the more desirable
variety can easily offset this saving. Since Carpet grass
furnishes more feed than most native pasture, it should be
saved and the improvement practice carried out on new land
whenever possible.
Cogon'Grass.-This grass (Imperata cylindrica (L) Beauv.)
is planted by use of crowns and rhizomes and produces light
fluffy seed-heads with few, if any seeds. Cogon is moderately
frost resistant and is grazed readily until it becomes too coarse.
It is grown on upland soils with moderate success but does not
do well on flatwoods land. Yield data are not available, so
Cogon cannot be compared directly with other grasses.
The uncertain danger of its becoming a pest as it has in other
parts of the world has hindered both investigation and use of








Grass Pastures in Central Florida


Cogon. There is no indication that Cogon is superior to other
grasses, and experience has shown it difficult to eradicate. This
grass is not recommended.
Fescue, Kentucky 31 and Alta.-These two strains of tall
Fescue (Festuca elatior var. amrndinacea (Schreb.) Wimm.) de-
veloped in Kentucky and Oregon, respectively, behave alike in
southern Florida. Neither has made much growth on sandy land,
even with moist weather and heavy fertilization. Indications are
that Fescue may be useful for cold weather grazing on highly
fertile land. Ordinarily it produces sparingly and does not live.
through the summer. Trial plantings are being continued, but
Fescue cannot be recommended except for mucky areas that have
water control.
Pangola Grass.-This variety (Digitaria decumbens Stent.),
introduced from South Africa, looks much like Crab grass but
produces no live seed and lives from year to year without re-
planting. Pangola is established by planting stems or crowns
in moist ground. Once the plant is rooted, it produces runners
that grow from one to two inches a day in warm weather.
Young stolons are killed by frost but the crown will survive
temperatures normally experienced in the peninsular section of
Florida.
Pangola grass is suited for use on a wide variety of soil types
and will survive both periodic flooding and extreme drouth. It
is well-liked by grazing animals and gives excellent response to
fertilization. This grass will be a disappointment unless soil
fertility is maintained. Overgrazing reduces production and
opens the way for Carpet grass and weeds. Like other grasses,
once Pangola has headed out and become mature its feed value is
reduced. However, cattle eat the mature herbage readily and it
makes an excellent deferred pasture for winter use.
Pangola is very sensitive to copper deficiency and should not
be planted unless this fertility need is considered. When copper
is a limiting factor, growth is slow, young leaves are pale yellow
and spotted with brown. Old leaves at the center of the plant
turn dark brown and die. This condition may occur when lime
and a complete fertilizer have been put on in amounts to support
vigorous growth. Affected plants show improvement within two
weeks following the addition of copper.
Para Grass.-Para grass (Panicum purpurascens Raddi) has
been grown in southern Florida for many years. It is planted
by stolons and upright stems and thrives in low, marshy, sandy







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


land. This grass is relished by cattle when in the green, leafy
stage. Overstocking will injure the stand. Mature Para has
a coarse, inedible stem. It is the tenderest of the common
grasses in this area, and is easily killed when the soil tempera-
tures reach freezing. Para has value for use in shallow ponds
and sloughs.
Carib Grass.-Closely resembling Para, Carib grass (Erioch-
loa polystachya H.B.K.) has finer stems and will stand more
grazing. It is easily damaged by frost but will grow in water
for long periods. On sandy land, its productivity is limited by
lack of available plant food.
Rhodes Grass.-Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth.) is
related to the Bermudas and produces a many-branched seed-
head on a stalk from three to four feet high. Stems of Rhodes
lean over and take root to form new plants in a thin stand.
Home-grown seed is usually lower in germination than imported
seed, but it can be used by planting at heavier rates.
Brought to the United States from Africa early in this
century, Rhodes grass has been planted in Florida for many
years. Although it has not become an important forage species,
recent seedings on well-drained, fertile upland soils have pro-
duced good pasture. Rhodes has slightly more frost resistance
than Pangola but may be severely injured by freezing tempera-
tures.
St. Augustine Grass.-St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum
secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze) is a good pasture grass on Ever-
glades muck. It is not used for pasture on sandy land because
dry weather permits severe chinch bug attacks. No strain is
immune to this damage, though some are more resistant than
others. This variety is frost-resistant and makes a thick sod.
It is slow to cover the ground and must be sprigged in rows or
set in with sod pieces for good results. St. Augustine is a
useful grass in shaded areas and for lawns where chemical
control of insects is practical.
Ryegrass.-American, Italian, Common and Domestic Rye-
grass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) are names for this short-lived
grass used for winter lawns. It is frost-resistant and comes up
quickly on moist, rich land. Rust and leaf spot diseases damage
it severely and it has no general usefulness for pasture on the
sandy lands of the state.
Torpedo Grass.-Torpedo grass, known also as Bullet grass







Grass Pastures in Central Florida


and sometimes called by its botannical name (Panicum repens
L.), has been planted in many places in peninsular Florida. It
is propagated by vegetative parts and spreads by sharp-pointed
underground runners from which the common name is derived.
This grass produces many open-type seed-heads on stalks grow-
ing from one to four feet tall, but few good seed are found.
Frost kills leaves and stems but does not injure roots. Torpedo
grass withstands both drouth and flooding but grows best on
coarse sand and low, mucky land. It will live under low
fertility conditions, but both yield and quality are low under
such circumstances. Good responses are obtained to fertilization
and the forage is both palatable and nutritious.
Torpedo grass is extremely aggressive and is a serious weed
in farm and grove land. Cultivation will not kill this grass,
since disking and plowing serve to stimulate it. Because it may
become a dangerous pest, Torpedo grass should never be planted
in or next to land intended for cultivated crops. Other varieties
are equal or superior in forage value in most locations and
should be given preference over this potentially dangerous
species.
Vasey Grass.-A tall-growing relative of Dallis, this variety
is found naturally in moist, fertile places along roads and fields
throughout Florida. Vasey grass (Paspalum urvillei Steud.)
is very frost-resistant, but it yields well only when carefully
managed and is easily killed by overgrazing.
Other Grasses.-Neither Harding (Phalaris tuberosa var.
stenoptera) nor Reed's Canary grass (P. arundinacea L.) shows
any promise on sandy upland soils. Several types of Love grass
(Eragrostis sp.) are being planted but have not shown general
value as pasture plants. They have good frost resistance and
may prove useful on well-drained lands. Dallis grass (Paspalum
dilatatum Poir.) thrives on fertile land but is not suited for
pasture use in central Florida. Napier grass (Pennisetum
purpureum Schum.), a bunchy, cane-like species, grows on many
different soils but must be carefully managed if used for
grazing. It does not have general pasture value. Centipede
grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro.) Hack.) makes a
smooth, attractive lawn but is not desirable for pasture. Natal
grass (Rhynchelytrum roseum (Nees.) Stapfand Hubb), often
called "Red Top," is used to a limited extent for hay and grazing
on dry upland soils. This low-yielding, volunteer variety is not
of general importance.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Planting and Maintaining Grass Pastures
1. Plant improved grasses on the best land available.
2. Establish only as much pasture as is needed and can be
properly maintained.
3. Destroy native growth and prepare land thoroughly, start-
ing 6 to 12 months before planting. Tree and stump removal is
usually desirable but expensive.
4. Plant productive and adapted grasses such as Pangola and
Pensacola Bahia. Use more than one variety, each in a pure
stand, when large areas are planted.
5. Plant when land is moist and use a packer to save
moisture and smooth the field.
6. Apply lime, fertilizer and minor elements as needed. Most
flatwoods soils require treatment at planting time.
7. Fence new pastures and protect from grazing for 60 to
90 days after planting or until the grass is established.
8. Refertilize high producing pastures yearly with not less
than 500 pounds per acre of 6-6-6 or a similar mixture.
9. Apply additional nitrogen when very heavy. grazing or
several cuttings of hay or planting material are desired.
10. Plan pasture grazing and fertilization to supply feed when
the need is greatest. More improved pasture should be fall-
fertilized and reserved for winter grazing.
11. Maximum production can be obtained only if overstocking
is avoided.
12. High cost pastures must be used efficiently if they are to
yield a profit.




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