Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Native pastures
 Value of improved permanent...
 Establishing permanent pasture...
 Pasture management
 Pasture plants

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 409
Title: Pastures for Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027257/00001
 Material Information
Title: Pastures for Florida
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 73, 5 p. : ill., charts ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Blaser, R. E ( Roy Emil ), 1912-
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1945
Subject: Pastures -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: R.E. Blaser ... et al..
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027257
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000925219
oclc - 18235763
notis - AEN5867

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Native pastures
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Value of improved permanent pastures
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Establishing permanent pastures
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Pasture management
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Pasture plants
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
Full Text



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H. P. Adair, Chairman, Jacksonville
N. B. Jordan, Quincy
T. T. Scott, Live Oak
Thos. W. Bryant, Lakeland
M. L. Mershon, Miami
J. T. Diamond, Secretary, Tallahassee


John J. Tigert, M.A., LL.D., President of the
H. Harold Hume, D.Sc., Provost for Agricul-
Harold Mowry, M.S.A., Director
L. 0. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir., Research
W. M. Fifield, M.S., Asst. Dir., Admin.,
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editors
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Assistant Editors
Jefferson Thomas, Assistant Editors
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Managers
K. H. Graham, LL.D., Business Managers
Claranelle Alderman, Accountants



W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist1
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomist'
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Agronomist
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate
Roy E. Blaser, M.S., Associate
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Associate
R. W. Bledsoe, Ph.D., Associate
Fred A. Clark, B.S., Assistant


A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., An. Industrialist'1
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman3
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist"
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarians
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist4
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.3
T. R. Freeman, Ph.D., Asso. in Dairy Mfg.
R. S. Glasscock, Ph.D., An. Husbandman
D. J. Smith, B.S.A.. Asst. An. Hlusb.4
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy Husb.3
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist
C. L. Comar. Ph.D.. Asso. Biochemist
L. E. Mull, M.S., Asst. in Dairy Teen.4
J. E. Pace, B.S., Asst. An. Husbandman 4
S. P. Marshall, M.S., Asst. in An. Nutrition
C. B. Reeves, B.S., Asst. Dairy Tech.
Katherine Boney, B.S., Asst. Chem.
Ruth Faulds, A.B., Asst. Biochemist
Peggy R. Lockwood, B.S., Asst. in Dairy Mfs.


C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agr. Economist'1
Zach Savage, M.S.A.. Associates
A. H. Spurlock. M.S.A., Associate
Max E. Brunk, M.S., Associate


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


J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologist1
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Associates
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant


G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist1
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Truck Hort.
R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
Victor F. Nettles, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.'
J. Carlton Cain, B.S.A., Asst. Hort.*
Byron E. Janes, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.2


W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist1
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asst. Botanist


F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Chemist'1
Gaylord M. Volk, M.S., Chemist
J. R. Henderson, M.S.A., Soil Technologist
J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
L. H. Rogers, Ph.D., Associate Biochemist'
R. A. Carrigan, B.S., Asso. Biochemist
G. T. Sims, M.S.A., Associate Chemist
T. C. Erwin, Assistant Chemist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
Geo. D. Thornton, M.S., Asst. Microbiologial
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor'
Olaf C. Olson, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor

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



J. D. Warner, M.S., Vice-Director in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
V. E. Whitehurst, Jr., B.S.A., Asst. Animal
Jesse Reeves, Asst. Agron., Tobacco
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Aast. Agron.'
R. C. Bond, M.S.A., Asst. Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Monticello

R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Milton

Ralph L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Marianna

R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Wewahitchka

J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist


A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
V. C. Jamison, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist
W. W. Lawless, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist'
C. R. Stearns, Jr., B.S.A., Asso. Chemist
H. O. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
T. W. Young, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
J. W. Sites, M.S.A., Asso. Horticulturist5


R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist'
F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agron.
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Sugarcane
G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.
W. T. Torsee, Jr., Ph.D., Asso. Chemist
B. S. Clayton, B.S.C.E., Drainage Eng.2
F. S. Andrews, Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.'
R. A. Bair, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
E. C. Minnum, M.S., Asst. Truck Hort.
N. C. Hayslip, B.S.A., Asst. Entomologist
Earl L. Felix, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
C. L. Serrano, B.S.A., Asst. Chemist

Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Director in
P. J. Westgate, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
H. I. Borders, M.S.. Asso. Plant Path.

Clement D. Gordon, Ph.D., Asso. Poultry
Geneticist in Charge2

W. G. Kirk, Ph.D, Vice-Director in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Asso. Agron., Wauchula
Gilbert A. Tucker, B.S.A., Asst. An. Hush.'


G. K. Parris, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge

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

A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Truck Horticulturist

S. O. Hill, B.S., Asst. Entomologists
A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asst. Entomologist'

J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Horticulturist in
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
D. B. Creager, Ph.D.. Plant Path., Gladiolus
A. L. Harrison, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist
E. L. Spencer, Ph.D., Soils Chemist

R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Chemist in Charge
J. C. Russell, M.S., Asst. Entomologist6

E. S. Ellison, Meteorologist 2 4
Warren O. Johnson, Meteorologist2

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


INTRODUCTION .............................-. ..............-. ..-....... 5
NATIVE PASTURES ......... ............. ................... ... ................ 5
VALUE OF IMPROVED PERMANENT PASTURES ..........................-------..........--- 8
ESTABLISHING PERMANENT PASTURES ........... ......... .....----------...- 12
General Considerations ........................... --------............. 12
W ater Control and Fencing ................ .....------ ...----....... ... 12
Destroying Objectionable Vegetation ....---....-------...--..---...--......-. 13
Adapted Pasture Plants ...................---------------..................... 16
Fertilization -----.......... ... .............. -------....- .-.................. 18
Fertilizers for Establishing Pastures on Flat Pine and
Prairie Land ..........---....~...-.....--- ......... ....----. .... 18
C Grasses ........... ...... .....--------- .................. 18
Legum es ....... ......... ... ... ..... ......... .......... ....... 24
For Hammock Soils ...........--.........--------- --------- 25
For Sandy and Muck Soils Underlaid with Lime .....................--. 25
Seedbed Preparation and Planting Technique .................................... 26
PASTURE MANAGEMENT ........................................------ ....... ............... 28
Fertilization of Established Pastures ..........--........----..............----- 28
Grasses --....................--------------------.. ...... 28
Legumes ........--.....--.... -..............------------ ---.............. 35
W eed Control ........--........-------------------. .....---.....---- ...-- 39
Grazing ...... -......----------- --- --......----.. ....-------.----... 40
Harvesting Seed .---.~...... ..------................ -.... --.. -----. 44
TEMPORARY PASTURES ...............-----........ .... ------------.......... 44
PASTURE PLANTS ..................... -...................... --... 47
Pasture Grasses ...~...- ....... ........... .... .... ............. 49
Pasture Legumes .......... ...--..... ........ ..-------.... -----.--. 61
SUMMARY ..................-------- -..... --..... .................. -- ...--. ..--- -. 71
APPENDIX TABLE 1 ............-......----... ..... ------- ......- ------74
APPENDIX TABLE 2 ...--......-.....--...............-- ---- .-....-..-- ... 78




The large acreage of inexpensive cutover forest and prairie
land grazed by range cattle has been important in the develop-
ment of the cattle industry in Florida. The natural vegetation
of the range areas furnishes nutritious grazing during the early
spring months. Improved pastures, when properly managed,
furnished more feed of better quality than the natural vegeta-
tion of unimproved range land.
During the last decade many dairymen and beef cattlemen
have purchased and fenced land. The ownership of land has
encouraged the establishment of improved pastures. There is
now a great demand for information on the planting and manage-
ment of pasture grasses and legumes. This bulletin summarizes
briefly the observations and results of investigations concern-
ing development, management and evaluation of pastures.

In the early history of the cattle industry in Florida, only the
grasses growing naturally (native grasses) were used for graz-
ing. Cattle grazed over huge areas because the carrying ca-
pacity of native unimproved grasses is low, 1 animal unit
requiring 5 to 40 acres annually.
Native vegetation on various unimproved ranges differs
widely, depending upon drainage, soil type, natural fertility and
other climatic or physical factors. Numerous grasses, legumes
and other plant types occur naturally on unimproved ranges.
The native legumes (Crotalaria, Galactia, Clitoria, Cracca and
others) are of very little grazing value.
The native perennial grasses on the low soils of the cutover
flat pine lands are primarily the wiregrasses (Aristida and
Sporobolus spp.); other species such as wild oats (Sorghastrum
spp.), blue maidencane (Panicum spp.), broomsedges (Andro-
pogon spp.), Paspalum spp. and other plants (Fig. 1). The
native grasses in this group are generally of most value for
1In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture.




The large acreage of inexpensive cutover forest and prairie
land grazed by range cattle has been important in the develop-
ment of the cattle industry in Florida. The natural vegetation
of the range areas furnishes nutritious grazing during the early
spring months. Improved pastures, when properly managed,
furnished more feed of better quality than the natural vegeta-
tion of unimproved range land.
During the last decade many dairymen and beef cattlemen
have purchased and fenced land. The ownership of land has
encouraged the establishment of improved pastures. There is
now a great demand for information on the planting and manage-
ment of pasture grasses and legumes. This bulletin summarizes
briefly the observations and results of investigations concern-
ing development, management and evaluation of pastures.

In the early history of the cattle industry in Florida, only the
grasses growing naturally (native grasses) were used for graz-
ing. Cattle grazed over huge areas because the carrying ca-
pacity of native unimproved grasses is low, 1 animal unit
requiring 5 to 40 acres annually.
Native vegetation on various unimproved ranges differs
widely, depending upon drainage, soil type, natural fertility and
other climatic or physical factors. Numerous grasses, legumes
and other plant types occur naturally on unimproved ranges.
The native legumes (Crotalaria, Galactia, Clitoria, Cracca and
others) are of very little grazing value.
The native perennial grasses on the low soils of the cutover
flat pine lands are primarily the wiregrasses (Aristida and
Sporobolus spp.); other species such as wild oats (Sorghastrum
spp.), blue maidencane (Panicum spp.), broomsedges (Andro-
pogon spp.), Paspalum spp. and other plants (Fig. 1). The
native grasses in this group are generally of most value for
1In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

spring grazing after the areas have been burned over. The
young succulent grass produced after burning remains nutritious
and succulent for 90 to 120 days. As the wiregrass grows older
it becomes woody and decreases in mineral and protein content,
Table 1.


Wiregrass furnishes good feed during early season. The carrying
capacity is low.

Cattle make slow growth or gains when the grass is in a ma-
ture condition. Thus burning is desirable because it stimulates
new and tender growth. I Any reference to the effects of burning
of grasses for grazing are not to be construed as recommending
the burning-over of woods or timber lands. The production of
trees for lumber or other purposes requires protection from un-
controlled or promiscuous burning and the State Forester at
Tallahassee should be consulted on management and protection
of forest areas.
-The native vegetation on the high sandy soils consists of
species similar to those on the flat pine lands. However, growth
is not as vigorous and grass stands are sparse, due to the
drought nature of the soil. Natal grass (Tricholaena rosea

Pastures for Florida


Plant Species 1

Native range not burned
(seasonal average)' ....
Native range when burned
(seasonal average)' ....
Native range when burned
(March vegetation)' ....
Carpet grass ......................
Bahia grass ........................
Bermuda grass ..... -.........

Percent on Dry Basis
Phos- Mag- Potas- Crude
phorus Calcium Inesium sium Protein




Dallis grass ..........
Para grass ............
Napier grass ........

White Dutch clover ..........
Annual Lespedeza ............




SThe chemical composition of any one species will differ greatly depending upon
fertility of soil and on the growth stage of the plant. The improved pasture species were
sampled during the vegetative growth stage and from fertilized soils.
SVegetation was primarily wiregrass (Aristida epp.).

Nees.) volunteers and furnishes good grazing on many upland
soils, especially those which have been disturbed.
On the prairie lands the native vegetation consists primarily
of broadleaf carpet grass (Axonopus furcatus Flligge Hitchc.),
maidencane (Panicum spp.), crab grasses (Digitaria spp.), and
many grasses of the Paspalum genus. These grasses furnish
best grazing during the summer months and more feed per unit
of area than the grasses growing on the soils of the flat pine
In the management of native pasture lands the entire area
should be fenced. It is desirable to divide the area into several
fenced pastures to control breeding, rotate cattle on several
pastures, and control grazing intensity. In rotational grazing
more cattle may graze per unit of area at any 1 time, thus the
grass can be maintained in a succulent stage for a longer period.
The improved pasture grasses and legumes furnish most of

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

their feed from March through November. The wiregrasses,
when burned, furnish grazing in early season before most of
the improved pastures come into heavy production (Fig. 2).

Native grasses (above) after burning furnish early grazing. A carpet-
lespedeza (below) or other grass-lespedeza pasture furnishes good spring
and summer grazing.


In a grazing program pastures should be utilized so as to give
a natural sequence of grazing crops to furnish nutritional pas-
turage over the longest possible period each year to maintain
growth or production of animals. Both permanent and tem-
porary improved pastures and native ranges should supplement
each other to accomplish these objectives satisfactorily.

Pastures for Florida

The desirability of utilizing permanent pastures depends upon
establishment and maintenance costs and upon subsequent re-
turns. Because of the varied climate, soil and pasture plants
it is impossible to give data which apply to all situations. Ap-
preciating the need for more information to evaluate improved
permanent pastures, the following preliminary results are given:
Improved pasture grasses are generally much higher in min-
eral and protein content than the native wiregrass (Table 1).
Improved pasture grasses and legumes are 3 to 8 times higher
in phosphorus and 2 to 8 times higher in calcium than the sea-
sonal average of native grass (primarily wiregrass). The pro-
tein content of improved pasture plants is 2 to 7 times higher
than that in native grass. These 2 minerals and protein are
very important for normal animal development. The magnesium
and potassium content of improved pasture herbage is also
higher than that of native grasses. The winter clovers and
lespedezas are higher in proteins and minerals than the per-
manent pasture grasses.

Legumes are higher in minerals than grasses. A combination of clovers
and carpet or other grass furnishes excellent grazing.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

The carrying capacity and quality of feed produced on im-
proved permanent pastures is much superior to that of the native
wiregrass range. The permanent pastures planted with legumes,
such as clover or lespedeza, and grasses are invariably superior
to the grass pastures alone (Figs. 2, 3 and 4). Pasture legumes
should be used with grasses where adapted because they are of

F kf mg~h

The carpet grass-clover pasture below was better than the carpet grass
pasture above. Clover stimulates luscious grass growth.

Pastures for Florida

better feeding value than grasses, increase the grazing period
and improve grass growth and quality through the nitrogen
which they add to the soil. On muck soils grasses are very
productive, due to the high nitrogen supply.
Data on beef animals, giving daily and annual gains per acre
when grazing various pasture species, are the best criteria avail-
able on measuring the value of improved permanent pastures.
On the basis of data, various pasture plants when grazed with
steers may be expected to yield the following seasonal gains
per acre: Wiregrass 5 to 10 pounds; carpet, Bahia, Napier or
Bermuda grass, 50 to 300 pounds; carpet and Lespedeza or other
grass-lespedeza mixtures, 100 to 250 pounds; carpet and clover
or other grass-clover mixtures, 200 to 675 pounds. The gains
per acre vary widely, depending upon prevailing rainfall, soil
type, fertilization and management. Higher gains occur on muck
soils than on mineral soils.
Average daily gains of beef animals may be expected to range
between 0.2 to 0.4 of a pound for wiregrass, 0.4 to 1 pound for
carpet, Bermuda, Dallis and Bahia grasses, 1 to 2 pounds for
Napier grass, 0.8 to 2 pounds for grass-clover mixtures, and
0.8 to 1.5 pounds for grass-lespedeza mixtures. The returns of
pastures are greatly influenced by grazing management and
other factors. These grazing records were produced under good
management practices.
The daily gains of steers and gains produced per acre are
incomplete criteria for evaluating pastures. The quality of beef
and breeding animals produced must be considered also. Records
show that improved pastures have been instrumental in improv-
ing quality as well as quantity of beef. Data also show that
fertilization increases the mineral content of herbage; that
animals prefer fertilized pasturage; and that better quality of
beef results from fertilized pastures.
Returns from improved permanent pastures depend upon
prices of livestock and livestock commodities, as well as on the
enterprise for which the pasture is used. Higher acre returns
result from poultry and dairy enterprises than in beef enter-
prises. More money can be invested in permanent pastures for
the more specialized industries.
It may be concluded that good quality cattle and livestock
products cannot be produced on a poor quality of feed. Highly
improved cattle require better feed than low grade cattle. The
development of high-producing milk cows, improved breeds of

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

beef cattle, or other livestock must be accomplished by the
establishment of improved permanent pastures. Fertilized im-
proved pastures furnish more and better quality feed than un-
fertilized pastures.

Pastures may be established on most soils in Florida, but the
expense involved in planting and the returns should be con-
sidered beforehand. It is best to plan wisely before planting
pasture grasses and legumes, since much of the range land in
Florida is not suited to improved pastures for the following
reasons: (1) Expense involved for clearing stumps and other
obstructions which prohibit the use of mechanical equipment;
(2) soils too drought or too wet to support good growth of
improved pasture plants; and (3) lumber, turpentine and pulp-
wood value of trees present. The best soils produce the most
productive pastures and it is wise to establish pastures on the
best soils available.
The primary factors to be considered when establishing per-
manent pastures include water control, fencing, destruction of
objectionable vegetation, planting adapted pasture plants, fertil-
ization, seedbed preparation and planting technique.

All pastures should provide shade and a continuous fresh
water supply. Natural sources of water, such as streams and
lakes, are generally available if the pastures are planned care-
It is generally desirable to provide for several fenced pastures
to control grazing and breeding and to maintain best production.
All fence lines could be seeded to improved grasses for fire pro-
tection (Fig. 5).
It is not necessary to construct expensive fences. Three- to
4-strand heavy duty barbed wire fences are satisfactory for
controlling cattle. In areas where hogs range freely and dam-
age pastures by rooting it is advisable to use a hog-proof fence
to exclude them. When available, cured heart pine, cypress
or live oak posts are very suitable. Sap pine posts last 1 to 2
years, while sap cypress may last 4 to 8 years. Sap pine or
cypress posts properly impregnated with creosote will last 15
to 30 years. Zinc chloride is also a satisfactory preservative

Pastures for Florida

Thorough destruction of palmetto and wiregrass and planting of improved
grasses protect fence lines from fire.

which increases the durability of posts. Surface applications
of zinc chloride or creosote do not increase the length of life
of sap posts appreciably.2
Although the moisture requirements of pasture plants differ
greatly, reasonably moist soils are considered most desirable.
Shallow surface water often causes scalding and death of seed-
ling plants. Certain pasture sods are also retarded or seriously
injured by standing water.
Water control should be planned carefully to avoid overdrain-
age, which accentuates drouth. Shallow ditches are usually
satisfactory for removing excess water from flat pine land.
Certain prairie lands or other areas subject to flooding require
deep ditches for satisfactory control of the water level. If
deep ditches are used, water gates should be provided to retard
or withhold the water flow during dry periods (Fig. 6). Pastures
are often unproductive during dry seasons because of excess

The first essential factor for establishing improved pasture

2 For information on impregnating posts with preservatives, write the
School of Forestry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

grasses is the thorough destruction of competing vegetation
(wiregrass, gallberry, palmetto, running oak and other objection-
able growths). The destruction of objectionable native vegeta-
tion may be accomplished through any of the following methods:
1. Thorough disking, after burning, with heavy equipment
such as shown in Fig. 7. Two or more double diskings, depend-


.-- ..

Above, a Para grass pasture on low land, improperly drained. The
water level is not controlled. Below, proper water control. Water flow
can be retarded with ditches equipped with water gates or locks. This
practice aids feed production during the dry season. Pasture lands can
generally be drained satisfactorily with shallow ditches.

Pastures for Florida

Two or more double diskings with heavy disk harrows and 3 to 5 chop-
pings with rotary choppers generally are required. Heavy disks equipped
with depth spools prevent deep disking, which brings the coarse sandy soil
to the surface, thus making an inferior seedbed. Medium weight cutaway
disk harrows also can be used satisfactorily for destroying less vigorous

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

ing upon the density of vegetation and weight of equipment,
generally are necessary.
2. Burning, chopping with rotary cutter, and 2 or more sub-
sequent double diskings. Medium weight cutaway disks are
satisfactory when following this procedure, as the heavy chop-
pers loosen the soil and increase the effectiveness of disking.
3. Three to 5 choppings with rotary chopper as shown in
Fig. 7.
4. Burning of vegetation, with immediate seeding and subse-
quent heavy grazing to control competing vegetation. Wire-
grass is especially well retarded when protected from fire for
1 year and then burned during the period between June and
September. If the burned-over wiregrass competes with the
carpet grass seedlings, it should be mowed or chopped.
5. Mowing or chopping, combined with close grazing.
6. Stumping and grubbing often are necessary to facilitate
mowing, fertilizing and managing of pastures.
The procedure to follow depends upon the prevailing vegeta-
tion. Land heavily infested with palmetto, gallberry and run-
ning oak generally must be cut with disks or choppers. Care
should be taken to prevent deep cutting which turns sandy,
unfertile soil to the surface. The soil packs more readily and
furnishes a better seedbed when the organic matter layer is
permitted to remain on the surface.
When native vegetation is to be destroyed with disks it is
advisable to cut the vegetation once and allow the soil to dry
well before cutting again. This procedure aids greatly in de-
stroying native vegetation and leaves the land smoother.

It is well known that the water, temperature, fertility and
soil requirements of pasture grasses and legumes differ greatly.
Carpet, Dallis, Bermuda, Napier and Bahia grasses can be
planted anywhere in Florida from the standpoint of temper-
ature. Para grass is not recommended for the northern part of
Florida, since low temperatures injure or exterminate it. Winter
clovers and annual lespedezas appear well suited to northern
and central Florida.
Moisture requirements of pasture plants depend on the soil
texture and fertility and upon prevailing temperatures. In gen-
eral, Bermuda, Bahia and Napier grasses make best growth on
moist soils, although they will grow on well drained soils. Car-

Pastures for Florida

pet and Dallis grasses are adapted to soils that are moist to
poorly drained, while Para grass makes good growth on poorly
drained soils (Figs. 6 and 8).
Carpet grass occurs naturally on many sandy soils of the
flat pine and prairie lands. Bermuda, Bahia, Napier and Para
grasses also are suitable for these lands. Bahia and Napier
are drought-resistant grasses and thus are well suited to the
upland soils, although both grasses furnish more feed when
grown on soils with more favorable moisture.
Winter clovers and annual lespedezas should be planted on
soils with favorable moisture conditions. Soils high in organic
matter or moist clay soils are preferred. Louisiana White Dutch
and Persian clovers may be planted on soils that are wet or
temporarily saturated with water. Black Medic and California
Bur clovers grow best on moist but well drained soils and will
not tolerate flooding. Hop, Hubam and Yellow Annual Sweet
clovers seem to be widely adapted. The better soil types of the
flat pine and prairie lands are suitable for growing the clovers

Top, carpet grass pasture near Kissimmee grazed by Brahman cattle;
lower left, mixture of grasses and lespedeza on heavy hammock soil near
Quincy grazed by Angus; lower right, Napier grass on an upland soil
grazed by Jersey cows.

X. BHB,,...^ Hi
^H~p-^^^^^^^B^^^* ^^WB B~ f~m

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

and lespedeza. Kobe and common lespedeza are recommended
varieties. Korean lespedeza generally makes poor growth and
does not volunteer satisfactorily.
The grasses and legumes best suited for the heavier textured
soils, as those in western Florida, are Dallis, Bermuda, Napier,
Bahia and carpet grasses; clovers; and annual lespedezas. Heavy
textured soils or those underlaid with clay in western Florida
are particularly suitable for lespedeza.
Para, Bermuda, Napier and St. Augustine grasses and the
winter clovers have been found well suited to the muck soils
of the Everglades area. Success in growing many of these pas-
ture plants depends upon fertility and grazing management prac-
tices. See also appendix Table 1.

Most Florida soils are deficient or low in availability of 1
or more of the nutrients essential for pasture grasses or
legumes. The absence or deficiency of 1 nutrient in the soil,
regardless of the abundance of other nutrients, will retard plant
growth. Since plants differ widely in their nutritional require-
ments the nutrients to be supplied will depend upon the plant
species to be grown as well as upon the soil deficiencies.
The objective of practical fertilization is to supply
the nutrients specifically required for the plants to be
grown, provided the soil is deficient in the nutrients
in question. Proper fertilization will increase plant
growth and improve mineral content and quality of
The fertilizer practices for pasture establishment and main-
tenance differ and are discussed separately for pasture estab-
lishment and maintenance.

Grasses.-Eight grasses were planted in large blocks and
given 12 lime and fertilizer treatments to find the grasses best
suited to the flat pine areas and their fertilizer and lime require-
ments. Such tests were established on Leon fine sand during
early summer near Callahan and Zephyrhills.
Typical carpet and Bermuda grass growth as stimulated by
fertilization on the Callahan experiment is shown in Figs. 9
and 10. Carpet grass planted and treated with 400 pounds per

Pastures for Florida

acre of a 4-8-8 3 fertilizer in June was well sodded (80 to 90
percent ground covered) in August. When phosphorus was
omitted from the complete fertilizer (400 pounds of a 4-0-8
fertilizer) the carpet grass seedlings made very slow growth
(Fig. 9).
Fair seedling growth of carpet grass resulted when nitrogen
was omitted from the complete fertilizer (400 pounds of an

3 400 pounds of a 4-8-8 fertilizer is equivalent to 100 pounds of nitrate
of soda, 200 pounds of 16 percent superphosphate and 64 pounds of 50 per-
cent muriate of potash.

Photographs made in August show growth responses on a Leon fine sand
at Callahan, Florida, fertilized and seeded in June. Upper left, 400 pounds
of 4-8-4 per acre; center left, 400 pounds of 4-0-8; lower left, 400 pounds
of 0-8-8; upper right, 1 ton of ground limestone and 400 pounds of 4-8-8;
center right, 1,800 pounds of rock phosphate and 64 pounds of muriate
of potash (50% K9 O) per acre; lower right, no fertilizer. Growth was
stimulated primarily by phosphorus, secondarily by nitrogen and potassium.




5~6~ :i

Nit!-ogen, phosphorus, potassium and lime applied in combination produced best growth of Bermuda grass. Pictures
made in August show grass planted in June on Leon fine sand, Callahan, Florida. Upper left, 1 ton of lime and 400 pounds
of 4-8-8 fertilizer per acre; upper right, 400 pounds of 4-8-8 fertilizer; lower left, no fertilizer; lower right, 400 pounds of
0-8-8 fertilizer per acre.

fit T41 -11- ". .

Pastures for Florida

0-8-8 fertilizer), producing about 40 percent ground cover the
first season. The omission of potash fertilizer (400 pounds
of a 4-8-0 fertilizer) did not retard growth greatly on this soil.
The growth of carpet grass treated with complete fertilizer
(400 pounds of a 4-8-8 fertilizer) and lime was about the same
as for grass treated with complete fertilizer alone. Carpet grass
which was treated with 1,800 pounds of rock phosphate and 64
pounds of muriate of potash in June developed a fair sod by
August (Fig. 9). The growth responses of 3 strains of Bahia
grass (common, Pensacola, and Paraguay) were similar to that
of carpet.
The growth of common Bermuda grass on the Callahan test
when variously fertilized is shown in Fig. 10. Most of the
Bermuda grass seedlings died soon after germination on the
unfertilized plots or where phosphorus was omitted. A fair sod
occurred when treated with 400 pounds of a complete fertilizer
(4-8-8) per acre, but growth was greatly stimulated when 1 ton
of calcic or dolomitic limestone was applied also. Bermuda grass
treated with 400 pounds per acre of an 0-8-8 fertilizer (phos-


Soil Treatment Phosphorus Calcium
(Pounds per Acre) (Percent) (Percent)

No fertilizer ...................... ...................... 0.16 0.35
600 lbs. 0-16-8 and 1 ton lime, equivalent to
600 lbs. of 16% superphosphate and 96 Ibs.
of 50% muriate of potash .......................... 0.26 0.50
Rock phos. 3,000 lbs. and 96 lbs. of 50%
muriate of potash ........................................ 0.29 0.40
Colloidal phos. 3,000 lbs. and 96 lbs. of 50%
muriate of potash ......................................... 0.29 0.37
Basic slag 1,500 lbs. and 96 lbs. of 50%
muriate of potash ................................ ....... 0.24 0.45

Percent increase over unfertilized grass 3 .... 69 23

1 Samples were plucked during June 1940, while grass was in a vegetative stage of
growth. The chemical analyses are means from 2 replicated plots on a Leon and Ports-
mouth soil in Osceola County and Plummer fine sand in Hardee County which were fertilized
to grow clover; thus heavy fertilizer rates were used.
2 Rock phosphate (32.3% total P05s) 52% passing through a 200-mesh sieve; colloidal
Dhosphate (20.4% total PzOs); basic slag (8 to 12% total P0Os).
a Computed on the basis of the mean values of all treatments receiving phosphorus,
irrespective of phosphate source.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

phorus and potash) was inferior to the growth where nitrogen
was supplied also. The growth responses of Dallis, Pangola4
and improved Bermuda 5 grasses were similar to those of com-
mon Bermuda grass.



- 0.10



'ortemoutb fine
de a Conty
Oceola County

Leon fine .and
Oaceola County

Plummer fine eand
Bardee County

ImlokaleC fine
HB lllande County

Acid peaty muck
Polk County

The phosphorus content of carpet grass grown on several virgin soils as
influenced by the application of phosphates to the soil.

The lime and fertilizer needs for grasses on a Leon soil at
Zephyrhills were similar to those on the Callahan area, except
that lime and potash gave pronounced growth increases with
most of the grasses. Bermuda and Pangola failed when lime
was omitted, and the growth of Bahia grasses was improved
appreciably when lime was applied.
The fact that the soil is often very low in phosphorus, calcium
and other nutrients is demonstrated by the greatly increased
mineral content of grasses grown on treated soil. The mean
phosphorus and calcium content of carpet grass taken from 3
fertilized and unfertilized sandy soils of the pine and prairie

See Page 60.
5 See Page 55.

Pastures for Florida

areas is shown in Table 2. Fertilization and liming increased the
phosphorus content 69 percent and the calcium content 23 per-
cent above that of untreated grass. Phosphorus is usually the
primary deficient nutrient in the virgin flat pine sand soils.
Application of phosphates increased the phosphorus content of

The land has been well disked, and fertilizing encourages rapid growth
and increases the nutritive value of the herbage.

carpet grass greatly (Fig. 11). Rock, colloidal and superphos-
phates have been applied over large areas planted to improved
pasture (Fig. 12). These materials have encouraged more rapid
sodding and improved palatability and mineral content of the
vegetation. Soil treatment increased the calcium content 48
percent and the phosphorus 75 percent over that of untreated
pastures. (For more detail, see Florida Station Bulletin 390.)
Because of the price of materials, the fertilizer giving the
best growth may not be the most practical treatment. More
money can be spent for fertilizers on pastures used for dairy
and poultry enterprises than for commercial beef production be-
cause of the higher per acre returns. A number of fertilizer
treatments for grass pastures on soils of the flat pine and prairie
lands to suit various enterprises are suggested below:

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

These grasses will sod and make fair growth on many soils
without fertilization. The following fertilizer applications be-
fore planting stimulate rapid sodding and growth:
1. 400 pounds per acre of a 4-8-8 (complete fertilizer) or a similar
grade; or
2. 300 to 500 pounds per acre of superphosphate (18% P0Os); or
3. 1,000 to 1,800 pounds per acre of rock or colloidal phosphate; or
4. 500 to 1,000 pounds per acre of basic slag.

Growth will be best with No. 1 because nitrogen, phosphorus
and potash are supplied. Growth of grass treated with rock,
colloidal or superphosphate or basic slag will be improved greatly
if nitrogen and potash equivalent to 400 pounds of 4-0-8 fertilizer
per acre are applied in addition.
On the more acid soils lime at the rate of 1 ton per acre should
be added also, especially for Bahia grasses. Either dolomitic
limestone, which supplies calcium and magnesium, or ground
limestone, which supplies only calcium, may be used. Growth
responses of pasture grasses indicate that the sources of
lime do not differ appreciably when rates of application are
These grasses require richer soils than carpet and Bahia
grasses. (The soil should be limed at the rate of 1 ton per acre
and treated with 400 to 600 pounds per acre of 4-8-8 or similar
fertilizer before planting. )
Recent tests also indicate that minor elements such as copper,
zinc and manganese encourage more rapid sodding after lime
and complete fertilizer have been supplied on some soils. The
minor elements should not be used unless the soil has been limed
and fertilized. Copper appears to be the most important minor
element on sandy soils. The minor elements may be tried alone
or as a mixture at the following rates: Copper sulfate 10 to 20
pounds per acre; zinc sulfate 5 to 10 pounds; manganese
sulfate 10 to 20 pounds; and borax 5 to 10 pounds per acre.
Minor elements have proven most beneficial on soils of southern
and central Florida.
Legumes.-The following fertilizer treatments may be used
for establishing clovers:

Pastures for Florida

1. One to 2 tons of calcic or dolomitic limestone per acre and 600
pounds of an 0-14-10 fertilizer or its equivalent in phosphorus
and potash; or
S2. One ton of calcic or dolomitic limestone, 1 ton of rock or col-
loidal phosphate and 250 pounds of an 0-8-24 fertilizer per acre
or its equivalent in superphosphate and potash.
'Lespedeza may be fertilized similarly to the clovers, but lighter
fertilizer applications are generally satisfactory:
1. One ton of lime and 300 to 600 pounds of an 0-14-10 or its
equivalent in phosphorus and potash; or
2. One-half to 1 ton of lime and % ton of rock phosphate plus
200 pounds of an 0-8-24 fertilizer or 100 pounds of muriate of
potash per acre.
When rock or colloidal phosphate is used for legumes it is
advisable to apply some superphosphate. In addition to readily
available phosphorus, the superphosphate supplies sulfur, which
appears deficient in some soils. Borax at the rate of 10 pounds
per acre also has proven beneficial for clovers on some soils.
Nitrogen fertilizers are not required when the soil is fertilized
properly to grow legumes. The nodule bacteria on clover and
other legume roots fix nitrogen from the air. This fixed nitrogen
is utilized by the legumes and associated grasses (Fig. 13).
More detailed information for fertilizing clovers and lespedeza
is contained in Bulletins 351 and 375 of this Station.

The lime and fertilizer requirements for starting grass, lespe-
deza and clover pastures on hammock soils are generally similar
to those for the flat pine and prairie soils. Rock and colloidal
phosphates are not recommended. Bahia and carpet grasses
generally sod on these soils without fertilization, but fertilization
improves the growth and quality of herbage.

Muck soils underlaid with lime are high in calcium and nitro-
gen. The primary nutritive requirements are potassium, phos-
phorus, copper and manganese.
Grasses and clovers to be planted on virgin muck soils respond
when treated with 300 to 600 pounds of an 0-12-16, 0-8-24 or
similar fertilizer and 20 to 50 pounds each of copper sulfate and
manganese sulfate per acre. Sandy soils underlaid with lime
should be treated with 400 pounds of a 4-8-8 or similar fertilizer
and 15 to 25 pounds of copper sulfate per acre. (For details see
Florida Station Bulletins 338 and 351.)

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Two fundamental considerations in the preparation of a seed-
bed are: (1) Destruction of weeds and other plants which hinder
growth of seedlings, and (2) rolling of seedbeds for packing to
prevent seed from being planted too deeply. On packed soils
the surface moisture supply is improved also due to the upward
movement of water (from subsoil to surface) by capillarity.
This improved surface moisture supply encourages rapid seed
germination and furnishes a favorable root environment for
the small seedlings, thus improving stands of grasses and

Foreground was treated with 1 ton of ground limestone and 400 pounds
of 0-14-10 fertilizer per acre. Left, seeded to Dallis grass alone; right,
to Dallis and a mixture of common and Kobe lespedeza.

legumes. Soil pulverizers which cover the seed and pack the
soil are desirable for seeding grasses and legumes (Fig. 14).
Seed of the permanent pasture grasses commonly used in
Florida often germinate slowly, thus better stands generally
result when the seeds are lightly covered. Surface-broadcast
seeds of legumes germinate and become established quickly if
planted on moist soils during rainy periods.
Grass and clover seed may be covered approximately 6 to 12
times their diameter on sandy soils and 3 to 6 times their diam-
eter on heavier textured soils. Bahia or Dallis grasses may

Pastures for Florida

be planted 1/ to 1 inch in depth, and Bermuda or carpet grass
may be covered 1/4 inch.

i'h5: 'jr
1q, l~i~~A
~c '' rL-
i~ -


Palmetto and wiregrass were destroyed by 3 to 5 choppings with a
heavy rotary chopper. A soil pulverizer equipped with grass seeding
attachment was hitched to the chopper for the final chopping, seeding
and packing operation.

Permanent pasture grasses established with seed may be sown
any time of the year, especially during favorable moisture
periods. February, March and April usually are the most favor-
able months for seeding grasses. Seed broadcast during the
summer rainy seasons on soils subject to standing surface water
has given poor results because of scalded seedlings. Grasses
planted vegetatively (root or stem cuttings), such as Para,
Napier and certain strains of Bermuda, may be planted in late
winter or during the summer rainy season. Napier grass may
be planted with root crowns during February or March, while
stem cuttings or root crowns may be used during June, July or
early August. Stem cuttings of Napier grass may be buried
in autumn and planted the subsequent spring. The soil should
be thoroughly prepared for establishing grasses propagated with
stem or root cuttings.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

All pasture legume seeds, such as clovers and lespedeza, re-
quire inoculation with the proper culture. Double, quadruple
and even higher rates of inoculation as recommended by com-
mercial companies may prove desirable.
Pasture clovers should be seeded from October to January
at any time the soil moisture is favorable and preferably during
a rain. Favorable moisture conditions are conducive to rapid
germination and good nodulation. Prolonged droughts are in-
jurious to nodulation. Italian rye grass (3 to 8 pounds per
acre) or oats (2 to 1 bushel per acre), planted with clovers on
newly prepared seedbeds in the fall, increase the productivity
and earliness of pastures during the first year of establishment.
Lespedeza should be planted from February to May. The
early plantings are generally more productive. The seed may
be surface-broadcast if planted during a rainy period, or covered
lightly if planted during a dry period. Lespedeza seeded in oats
and grazed by cattle does not require coverage. Loose soil
should be packed. The lime and fertilizers should be broadcast
before seeding. The fertilizers may be surface-applied or prefer-
ably incorporated into the soil. For seeding rates and dates
see Appendix Table 1.

Permanent pastures require certain definite practices to main-
tain desirable species and a good quality of productive forage.
The more important factors to consider in maintaining a good
quality and productive herbage include fertilization, weed con-
trol and grazing management.

Grasses.-Tests with fertilizers to measure the growth and
composition of carpet grass on established sods were started in
1937. These tests on soil types of the flat pine lands show that
certain minerals or mixtures of lime and fertilizer increased the
growth of established carpet grass pastures materially (Tables
3 and 4 and Fig. 15). Nitrogen fertilizer was particularly effec-
tive in stimulating growth. The spring growth and total seasonal
yields of grass were greatly increased when nitrogen fertilizers
were applied in March (Fig. 15). Pastures fertilized with potash
and phosphorus yielded, during a 4-year period, slightly higher
than unfertilized grasses but much lower than grasses treated
with nitrogen alone (Table 3). Highest yields were obtained

Pastures for Florida

when nitrogen was used with phosphorus and potash or with an
application of phosphorus, potash and lime. The growth of carpet
grass treated with fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphorus, potash) and
lime was appreciably more during the entire season than that of
grass treated with nitrogen alone. A complete fertilizer (nitro-
gen, phosphorus and potash) was used without lime, with dolo-
mitic limestone and with ground limestone (Table 3). Yields
from plots treated with complete fertilizer and lime were slightly
more than those from the complete fertilizer alone. These yields
show that either ground or dolomitic limestone is satisfactory,
but that carpet grass yields on established pastures were in-
creased only slightly by lime applications.


-- o fertiliir.


10*. N inhtrOjen) ts
March and August. / --
-- b lib. F (nitrogen), }b lb. /
P205 (phoaphorte acid),
12 Ibe. KXO (potash), ad n/ \
500 lbs. It.. in Iarc /\
amually: and 3b lbs. i /
in \ og t.
/ /\ \

// \
/ /

4.o L

July 1
Clipping Dates. 1940

A*g. I


Sept. 1 Sept. 27

Growth curves of carpet grass as affected by fertilization on a Leon fine
sand during the 1940 season, Gainesville.

In another series of tests on 4 soils, 200 pounds of superphos-
phate (18o P205), 50 pounds of muriate of potash (50% K20)
and 500 pounds of ground limestone per acre were applied an-
nually from 1937 to 1940, inclusive, to compare with the yields
of carpet grass which was fertilized with 800 pounds super-
phosphate, 200 pounds muriate of potash and 2,000 pounds of
lime in 1937 only. Both treatments received identical nitrogen
applications annually. The 1937 and 1938 yields show that car-

w u Jttus I


I \



Apr. 1


Soil Treatment Pounds per Acre 1 Pounds Dry Grass per Acre

PAO 2 Dolo- I Fellow-
N Phos- KI 0 mitic Calcic Leon2 Plummer2 Bladen2 ship2
Nitrogen phonic Potash Lime- Lime- Fine Fine Fine Fine
Acid I stone stone Sand Sand Sand Sand

0 0 0

36 0 0

72 0 0

144 50

36 144 50

72 144 50

72 144 100

72 144 50












































in Yield








SNitrogen-36 pounds of nitrogen is equivalent to the nitrogen in 180 pounds of sulfate of ammonia per acre.
The nitrogen was applied annually, the other minerals are total amounts applied during 4 years.
Phosphorus-144 pounds phosphoric acid is equivalent to the phospho us in 800 pounds of 18% superphosphate.
Potash-50 pounds is equivalent to 100 pounds of 50% muriate of potash.
2 Leon and Plummer fine said in Alachua County; Bladen fine sand in Duval County; and Fellowship fine sand in Hernando County.


Fertilizer Treatment Pounds per Acre

N POs5
Nitrogen Phosphoric


Calcic Limestone

72 36 25 500

All applied annually 1937 through 1940

72 72 50 1,000




Applied phosphorus, potash and
lime in 1937 and 1939

144 100

Applied phosphorus, potash and
lime in 1937 only


Pounds Dry Grass per Acre 2

1937 1938 1939 1940

2,880 3,540 3,320 3,200

2,090 3,060 3,230 3,100

2,150 3,180 3,310 3,090

1 N-equivalent to 400 pounds per acre of a 50/50 mixture of nitrate of soda and sulfate of ammonia (200 pounds applied in March and August
annually). 36 pounds of POs is equivalent to 200 pounds of 18% superphosphate: 25 pounds of K20 is equivalent to 60 pounds of 50% muriate
of potash; calcic limestone (90% Ca COa).
Treatments replicated 4 times on Leon and Plummer fine sand in Alachua County, and Bladen fine sand in Duval County.





Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

pet grass did not respond to heavy applications of superphos-
phate, potash and lime (Table 4). It is thus apparent that
carpet grass is stimulated primarily by nitrogen and that light
applications of lime, superphosphate and potash along with nitro-
gen are satisfactory.
The effect of liming and fertilization on the mineral content
of carpet grass grown on a Bladen fine sand is shown in Fig. 16.
When it was treated with nitrogen alone, the phosphorus, cal-
cium and potassium contents were lower than in unfertilized
grass. The carpet grass treated with a mixture of minerals
(lime, nitrogen, phosphorus and potash) was 61 percent higher
in calcium, 75 percent higher in phosphorus and 24 percent
higher in potassium than unfertilized grass.
Since nitrogen was found to be the most effective element for
increasing growth of established carpet grass on mineral soils,
an experiment with 4 sources of nitrogen was started on a carpet
grass sod near Gainesville in 1938. The sources of nitrogen-
nitrate of soda, sulfate of ammonia, uramon, and calcium cyana-
mide-were used with mixtures of lime, superphosphate and
potash and with superphosphate and potash (Table 5). This
test again shows that growth was increased primarily by nitro-
gen. All 4 sources of nitrogen increased growth greatly. High-

1100 2.
000 2.0

goo (1
S 1.9
800 0 .6

i B 0.3
2 00 0.4

o Fertilizer. N i s0rc appI d aoally. 3b# N, 36# P20, 12# R20 "d

Chart shows effect of fertilization on early season (April 17 to May 28)
yield and chemical composition of carpet grass, 1940. Bladen fine sand in
Duval County.
Duval County.

Pastures for Florida

est yields occurred, however, when the nitrogen was supple-
mented with other nutrients.
The effect of nitrogen from different sources on composition
of carpet grass is given in Table 6. The protein content of un-


Nitrogen Source
_(Pounds Dry Grass per Acre)
Fertilizer Treatment I Calcium
No Nitrate Sulfate of Uramon Cyana-
Nitrogen of Soda Ammonia (42% N) mide
____(16% N) (20.5% N) (22% N)
Superphosphate and
potash ................... 1,670 2,930 2,680 2,410 2,540
Lime, superphosphate
and potash ............ 1,610 2,820 2,690 2,710 2,430

Mean ............................ 1,640 2,875 2,685 2,560 2,485
Percent increase in
yield .......................... 75 64 56 52

1 Superphosphate-125 pounds 20% superphosphate applied per acre in 1938, 1940 and
Potash-30 pounds of 50% muriate of potash applied per acre in 1938, 1940, 1941 and
Lime-500 pounds applied in 1938 and 1940, and 1,000 pounds per acre in 1942. Nitro-
gen Source-24 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre was applied in March and May each year.
24 pounds (N) is equivalent to 150 pounds of nitrate of soda.


Treatment Protein

N o fertilizer ........................................................... ................. 99.8
Lime (L), phosphorus (P), potash (K) ................................ 10.1
N itrate of Soda ................................................ ................---- ... 11.7
Nitrate of soda and LPK .......................................................... 11.1
Sulfate of am m onia ................................................................... 12.1
Sulfate of ammonia and LPK ................................................ 11.5
Calcium cyanamide ..................................... ..... 11.3
Calcium cyanamide and LPK ............................................... 10.7
U ram on ....................................................................................... 12.5
U ram on and LPK ..................................................................... 10.8
Analysis from composite samples during April 13 to June 12, 1939.

fertilized grass was 9.8 percent, as compared with a range of
10.8 percent to 12.1 percent when treated with nitrogen or
nitrogen with other minerals.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Two tests on Leon fine sandy soil to measure lime and fertil-
izer needs for maintaining stands and growth of 8 grasses were
started in 1942. The lime and fertilizer requirements of the
grass species differ widely. The Bahia varieties and carpet
grass require much lower fertility levels for maintenance than
the Bermuda varieties, Dallis and Pangola grasses. Under low
fertility levels grasses such as Bermuda and Dallis make poor
growth and tend to be crowded out rapidly by carpet grass.
The fertilizer and lime requirements for maintenance thus de-
pend upon species of grasses to be grown as well as the soil
and previous fertilizer practices.
When the soil is not suitable for growing legumes, the grasses
may be fertilized for maintenance as follows on the mineral
soils of western and peninsular Florida:
1. 300 to 500 pounds of 6-6-6, 5-7-5, 4-8-8 or similar fertilizer ap-
plied every other year. Nitrogen fertilizer at the rate of 100
to 200 pounds per acre of sulfate of ammonia or nitrate of
soda, or their equivalent in other sources of nitrogen, may be
applied on years when complete fertilizer is not supplied. Lime
may be supplied at the rate of 1 ton per acre every 5 to 7 years
on the more acid soils; or
2. Superphosphate at the rate of 200 to 400 pounds per acre every
3 to 5 years will generally improve the phosphorus and calcium
content of forage and also stimulate growth; or
3. 1,000 to 1,800 pounds of rock or colloidal phosphate increases
the phosphorus and calcium content of grass and generally
stimulates growth. The addition of nitrogen and potash to the
rock phosphate or superphosphate would improve growth of
grasses. This treatment is not recommended for the red soils
of western Florida; or
4. Basic slag at the rate of 500 to 1,000 pounds per acre every
3 to 5 years may be used.
1. 400 to 500 pounds of a 6-6-6 or similar fertilizer applied an-
nually; additional nitrogen would be desirable. Complete fer-
tilizer can be applied biennially, with nitrogen applied in the
alternate years; or
2. If rock, colloidal, superphosphate or other phosphate is used,
it should be supplemented with nitrogen and potash.
Lime may be needed every 3 to 6 years.
1. For non-acid sandy soils apply complete fertilizer and nitrogen
as recommended for the acid sandy soils. Lime will not be
2. For muck soils apply 200 to 400 pounds of 0-8-12 or 0-8-24
fertilizer per acre every 1 or 2 years.

Pastures for Florida

Rock and colloidal phosphates are not recommended for the
alkaline or slightly acid muck and sandy soils.
The frequency with which copper and manganese will need
to be applied is not known. If established sods have not been
topdressed with copper or manganese they should receive the ap-
plications recommended for establishing pastures (see page 25).
Legumes.-Nitrogen fertilizers for maintaining grasses in
good growth are rather expensive and the costs may not always
be justified when returns are considered. Legumes cloverss and
lespedeza) should be grown in pastures where they are adapted
because they furnish herbage and simultaneously add nitrogen
to the soil, thereby stimulating grass growth (Fig. 17). Legume-
grass pastures grown on adapted soils are more productive than
grass pastures without legumes (Table 7). During 1943 grass
pastures which were not fertilized produced a total of 1,621
pounds of herbage, as compared with 3,280 pounds per acre when
treated with 500 pounds of a 6-6-6 fertilizer annually. Carpet-
lespedeza pastures treated with 300 pounds per acre of an

Upper left, no fertilizer. Upper right, 300 pounds superphosphate per
acre. Lower left, growth when treated with nitrogen, phosphorus and
potash (500 pounds of a 6-6-6 fertilizer). Lower right, fertilized with 1
ton of lime and 600 pounds of 0-14-10 fertilizer to grow clover. The clover
furnished early feed and added nitrogen to the soil which increased grass

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

0-10-10 fertilizer produced 3,845 pounds of dry herbage per
acre, while established clover-carpet pastures produced 7,797
pounds. The pasture legumes also improve the quality of pas-
ture herbage, as indicated by the protein content of pure grass
and grass-legume herbage in Table 7. Fertilized carpet grass
herbage averaged 10.6 percent protein as compared with 14
percent for lespedeza-carpet grass herbage and 21.1 percent for
clover-carpet grass herbage.
Annual fertilization is necessary for maintaining high pro-
ducing legume-grass pastures. The effects of such fertilization
on established clover pastures on 3 soil types are given in
Table 8. At Gainesville on established clover pastures which

Dry Crude
Pastures Fertilizer Herbage Protein
per Acre %

Carpet grass ........................ None 1,621 lbs. 9.4
Carpet grass ....................... 500 lbs. 6-6-6 3,280 lbs. 10.6

Carpet-lespedeza ................. 300 lbs. 0-10-10 3,845 lbs. 14.0
spring annually

Carpet-clover ........................ 400 lbs. 0-10-10 7,797 lbs. 21.1
fall annually _
1Dry herbage as totals for the 1943 season; protein analyses from vegetation taken
in June and July 1944.


Yield of Forage in
Location and November Early Season Percent
Soill Fertilizer Fertilized Increase
Treatment Not in
Fertilized November

Gainesville ........
fine sand)
Callahan ............
(Leon fine
(Bushnell loamy
fine sand)

400 lbs. 0-10-10

300 Ibs. 0-14-10

300 lbs. 0-14-10

762 lbs.

976 lbs.

2.5 1

1 Yield indices-average height with perfect stand.

2,021 lbs.

1,917 lbs.

6.8 1

Pastures for Florida

received 400 pounds of 0-10-10 fertilizer per acre in the fall,
the dry herbage yields the following January were 2,021 pounds
as compared with 762 pounds when not fertilized for maintain-
ence. At Callahan on a Leon fine sand, 300 pounds per acre
of 0-14-10 applied in the fall increased the early season yield


:eight of

7/7/38 ..........
7/7/38 .... .......
7/7/38 ..... .......

Number of Dogfennel Plants per Sq. Yd.

At Cutting Date,
July 7

After Cutting
September 10

1 Cut when 3 feet in height. Results are averages of 2 replications.

Number of Thistles
Date of Height of Number of Thistles per Plot
Cutting Cutting per Plot on Remaining on
(Inches) Cutting Date July 8, 1937
5/31/37 ................ 2 359 1
5/31/37 .................. 4 364 7
5/31/37 .................. 6-8 336 34

1 Cut just previous to blooming growth period. Results are averages of 2 replications.

96 percent and the same treatment on a loamy fine sand at
Webster increased the yield 172 percent when compared with
clover which was not re-treated.
For maintaining established clover or lespedeza pastures the
following fertilizers may be used:

1. 300 to 500 pounds per acre of 0-14-10 or 0-10-10 fertilizer or
Sits equivalent applied annually.
2. If high rates of rock phosphate or colloidal phosphate have
been used for establishing clovers or lespedeza, 80 to 160 pounds
per acre of 0-8-24 fertilizer should be applied annually.
The 0-8-24 fertilizer will furnish readily available phosphorus
and also supply sulfur in case of its deficiency.
For clovers the fertilizers should be applied in the fall (Novem-
ber) and for lespedeza in early spring.
One ton of lime may be added every 3 to 5 years.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

,.rr., ~.f 4i~RTS-rF e a~S. ~r. C flfrl~bU "W.e -
i'1 i
4 I :,~~

Undesirable plants infesting newly seeded pasture should be mowed or
chopped to eliminate competition for moisture, nutrients and light.


Pastures for Florida


Weeds are detrimental to pastures because they retard the
desirable pasture plants by shading and competing for moisture
and plant nutrients. Weeds are most common on newly pre-
pared or mismanaged pastures. The mowing machine is con-
sidered the most effective weed cutting device; however, rotary
choppers are frequently used because they are more satisfactory
for rough land and woody plants and are operated with less
breakage (Fig. 18).
Annual weeds which are propagated by seed can be extermi-
nated generally by mowing during the bloom stage to prevent
seeding. Prostrate perennial weeds such as match weed (Phyla
nodiflora (L.) Green) which commonly infests pastures in
southern Florida are difficult to control. It is generally neces-
sary to disk pastures during a dry period to kill the match weed,
and then replant the pastures.
Weed eradication experiments on a permanent pasture in-
fested with dogfennel and field thistles show that mowing con-
trols these 2 weeds. Close cutting during the early bloom stage
prevented reseeding and also killed these weeds (Tables 9 and

Foreground, thistles chopped 3 times with a rolling chopper; back-
ground, thistles not chopped. Rotary choppers with closely spaced blades
would reduce the number of choppings required for control. Mowing
machines generally give better weed control because close cutting prevents

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

10). When these weeds were cut 6 to 8 inches from the ground
with a rotary chopper many revived sufficiently to produce seed.
Rotary choppers with closely spaced blades would be more suit-
able for controlling weeds (Fig. 19).
It has been shown in the preceding pages that fertilization
and liming improve yield and mineral and protein contents of
pasture plants. Quality and yield of pasture plants are in-
fluenced also by grazing management. Minerals such as phos-
phorus, calcium and iron are very essential in the building of
the framework and in the vital functions of the grazing animal,
but they make up only 5 to 15 percent of the plant's total dry
weight. A plant is made up largely of organic compounds
(sugars, starches, hemicelluloses and others) which furnish the
animal food for energy and body building.
Organic compounds are produced by the plant itself.. The
green chlorophyll in the leaves combines carbon dioxide and
water, with the aid of energy from the sunlight, into simple
sugars. This process is known as photosynthesis. These simple
sugars are later transformed into starches and more complex
organic compounds which make up 85 to 95 percent of the plant
Since the leaves manufacture the organic compounds of plants
the leafage is important in the grazing management to obtain
satisfactory production and quality of herbage. The primary
factors to be considered in grazing management are the growth
habit and the stage of growth of plants.
Plants possess 2 types of growth habits; the prostrate, such
as carpet and Bahia grasses, and erect or semi-erect, such as
Para and Napier grasses or Cattail millet.
Erect or semi-erect plants will be readily exterminated by
continuous heavy grazing because cattle remove all or most of
the leaves. When most of the leaves are kept removed the
organic food reserves in the plants are utilized faster than they
are replaced. Heavy, continuous grazing of erect plants will
eventually deplete the organic food reserves, which will result
in low yields or death of plants. For proper grazing manage-
ment of erect or semi-erect pasture plants there should be 2
or more fields so that the pastures can be grazed intermittently
or rotationally. In rotational grazing 1 pasture is grazed at
a time, which allows the others to produce new leafage to re-

Pastures for Florida 41

P 'V

Above, Napier grass ready for grazing. Below, steers have consumed
most of the leaves of Napier grass and are ready to be transferred to
another field. Recovery by upright grasses is rapid after grazing when
properly managed.
TP- .*- .. ..

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

store organic reserves within the plant. With this grazing tech-
nique rapid new growth develops after each grazing (Fig. 20).
Plants with prostrate growth habits such as carpet grass
tolerate or require close grazing, because it is not possible for
the grazing animal to remove all of the leafage. These grasses
may thus be grazed continuously or rotationally.
'In the stage of development of pasture plants, 2 growth
periods-the vegetative and the reproductive-are important.
During the vegetative period plants grow rapidly and produce
new leafage, the intake of minerals being at a maximum. At
this period the plants are succulent and nutritious, the protein
and minerals being high and the fibrous or woody material being
low. As the reproductive stage is approached there is little
development of new leafage but seed heads develop. As the
plant reaches a more mature stage the fibrous materials are
increased and the mineral content is decreased. The herbage
of mature plants is not eaten readily by livestock because of
the low quality.
In grazing management the plants should be kept in a vegeta-
tive growth stage so new leaves, rather than seedheads, are
produced. Mowing of the seedheads and excess leaves will
aid greatly in reverting a plant to a leaf-producing stage so as
to improve quality of feed. The grasses seed heavily during
the summer months and this is the time when mowing is espec-
ially beneficial.
It is desirable to allow some pastures to grow to, or nearly to,
maturity in September or October to furnish winter feed. Pas-
tures with accumulated growth of carpet or other improved
grasses furnish more feed during the winter than closely grazed
pastures. In accumulated ungrazed sods a considerable portion
of the foliage remains green even after heavy frosts. When
there is a deficiency of feed during the winter season animals
eat frosted grass readily, even though it is of low quality. Pas-
tures managed in this way have proved satisfactory for winter-
ing cattle, provided protein supplements were furnished. (For
details see Florida Station Bulletin 373.)

Combine harvesting of Bahia grass seed is shown above. Below, har-
vesting Black Medic clover seed with mower and seedpan attachment.
The screen may be placed in the seedpan to separate the seed from the hay.

wi"s; Clbi:

I *y**l F
*' '-* ^ *' ^ '." i '*- -t ." ^ *. ';' t
i' ., .. '* *
.aff *-1: *I -,-^^^^
*: ** *' ''' ^ f ii~ i M W i t tt ~ ti

tqW-.su"~h~Y le

.1 -

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

The gathering of permanent pasture grass and legume seed
has received very little attention in Florida. Practically all
seed of pasture crops have been purchased from out-of-state or
foreign sources.
Preliminary work with harvesting of seed of permanent pas-
ture crops indicates that production is profitable and that Florida
produced seed is often superior to introduced seed. Seeds of
many pasture plants are also difficult to obtain.
Carpet and Bahia grass seed have been gathered with com-
bines satisfactorily (Fig. 21). Where combines are not available
seedpan attachments for mowers can be used. A screen may
be used with seedpans to save seed in case of heavy shattering
(Fig. 21). Other methods of seed harvesting-hand-stripping,
mowing with window attachments and subsequent combining,
or mowing, raking into windows and subsequent threshing-
also may be used.
The newly gathered seed should be spread under shelter in a
well ventilated place to dry. Frequent stirring may be necessary
to prevent heating and damage to germination. After the seed
is dry it may be cleaned and sacked. Seedheads gathered with
seedpan attachments for mqwers may be placed in small cocks
to dry before being threshed.
The seedheads or seed gathered with combines also may be
spread immediately on land where a new pasture is to be de-
veloped. With this method the seed should be surface-broadcast,
since immature seed that are incorporated with the soil may rot.
After all seeds have reached maturity they may be incorporated
with a disk.
White Dutch, Black Medic, Hop, Persian and sweet clovers,
annual lespedeza, and carpet, Dallis and varieties of Bahia
grasses, as well as other grasses and legumes, seed prolifically
in Florida. Seed of these plants might well be gathered.
Temporary pastures serve primarily to supplement permanent
pastures by furnishing feed during drought periods or the win-
ter season when permanent pastures furnish little feed. Tem-
porary pastures may be planted so that green feed will be avail-
able any time of the year. They are thus good insurance against
a feed shortage.
The best winter grazing crops include oats and rye. Rust-
resistant varieties of oats and adapted varieties of rye should

(Includes Varieties, Planting Dates, Seeding Rates, Fertilizer Requirements and Grazing Season.)

Planting Date

Seed per Acre I



Fertilizer per

Before or at

SReady for
Acre Grazing
Topdressing in Days After

Northern Quincy Red, 200 lbs. of 2-10-4, 100 to 200 lbs.
Oats and Western Quincy White Sept. 15 to Jan. 1 3 bu. 3 bu. 3-8-5, 4-7-5 or nitrate of soda 60 to 90
Florida or Florilee similar fertilizer or sul. of am.
Fla. 167, Fla. 200 lbs. of 2-10-4, 100 to 200 lbs.
Oats Peninsular Black, Fulghum Sept. 15 to Jan. 1 3 bu. 3 bu. 3-8-5, 4-7-5 or nitrate of soda 60 to 90
Florida or above var. similar fertilizer or sul. of am.
Florida Black, 200 lbs. of 2-10-4, 100 to 200 lbs.
Rye Entire State Georgia Black Sept. 15 to Jan. 1 1 bu. 1 bu. 2-8-5, 4-7-5 or nitrate of soda 60 to 90
________ or Abruzzi similar fertilizer or sul. of am.
400 to 600 pounds
Millet Entire State Cattail or March 1 to July 5 to 10 lbs. 10 to 20 4-7-5, 5-7-5 or Apply nitrogen 45 to 75
Pearl lbs. similar fertilizer as needed
400 to 600 pounds
Sudan Entire State Tift or March 1 to July 10 lbs. 20 lbs. 4-7-5, 5-7-5 or Apply nitrogen 45 to 75
Grass Commercial similar fertilizer as needed
200 to 300 pounds
Cowpeas Entire State Brabham or April to August Y2 to 1 bu. 1 to 2 bu. of 0-14-10 or None 60 to 90
Iron ___similar fertilizer
200 to 300 pounds
Alyce Entire State April or May 10 to 20 10 to 20 of 0-14-10 or None After 90
Clover lbs. lbs. similar fertilizer

Eyespot- Plant root or stem 400-600 lbs. 4-7-5, Additional
Napier Entire State Resistant Feb. to Aug. cuttings 2' apart 5-7-5 or similar nitrogen stimu- 75 to 125
SVarieties in 6' to 8' rows fertilizer 2 lates growth
Crowns during winter
Late winter or when dormant or seed- 400 pounds of
Kudzu Soils with early spring lings in fall spaced 2 to 0-14-10 and man- None 2 to 3 years
clay subsoil 3 ft. apart in 25 ft. rows ure if available
deza Northern Early spring 15 to 30 20 to 30 400 pounds of None 6 mos. to
sericia Florida Ilbs. Ilbs. 0-14-102 3 years




1 Perennial crops should be fertilized annually.

2 Lime at the rate of 1 ton on acid soils.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

be used, as such varieties furnish grazing during a longer
period (Table 11). Both oats and rye are planted during the
fall for supplementary winter grazing. Italian rye grass also
furnishes good winter grazing on rich moist soils well supplied
with nitrogen. Vetch may be planted with oats or rye on the
heavier soils. Hairy and Augusta vetch are best adapted.
Summer grazing crops include Cattail millet, Sudan grass,
cowpeas, soybeans and other crops of less importance. Of the
summer grazing crops, Cattail millet is most commonly used
because of its high-yielding ability, rapid growth and resistance
to diseases. It is not injured by root-knot nematodes. Cattail
millet should be grazed intermittently when 18 to 24 inches tall.
When well fertilized and carefully managed, 4 or 5 grazings may
be expected. It is advisable to make a sequence of plantings
so as to furnish grazing during the longest possible period of
Sudan grass furnishes an excellent quality of feed but this
grass is susceptible to several leaf diseases which, when present,
decrease its food value and retard growth. Tift Sudan, a variety
which is resistant to the most destructive diseases, has recently
been developed and is recommended. Cowpeas furnish excellent
grazing when planted alone or with crops like millet, corn or
Sudan grass. Varieties of cowpeas which are resistant to root-
knot, such as Iron, should be utilized. Sorghum also may be
usedsd for grazing, but there is danger of prussic acid poisoning.
The seedbed for all of these crops should be thoroughly pre-
pared so that weeds will not compete with the young seedlings.
Recommended varieties, rates of seeding, rates of fertilizing,
and planting and grazing dates are given in Table 11.
Perennial grazing crops include Napier grass, kudzu and
Lespedeza sericea (Thunb.) Benth. Napier grass may be planted
with root cuttings in early spring or with stem cuttings in June
and July. Stem cuttings buried in the soil in the fall may be
used for planting material the following spring. Plantings
should not be made with stem cuttings later than the first part
of August. It is recommended that the root or stem cuttings
be spaced 2 feet apart in rows 6 to 8 feet apart. Good prep-
aration of the soil is essential. The soil should be fertilized
previous to planting and additional sidedressings with nitrogen
should be made to further stimulate growth. Several cultiva-
tions should be made during the first year to control weeds while
the grass is becoming established. After the first year 1 cultiva-

Pastures for Florida

tion is generally sufficient. Good results have been obtained by
disking well established stands during late winter once annually
without additional cultivation. A well established Napier grass
pasture is shown in Fig. 20.
Kudzu is particularly adapted to heavy-textured soils or soils
with clay subsoils. The crowns should be set in the winter when
the plants are dormant. Four hundred pounds per acre of an
0-14-10 fertilizer should be applied in the drill row previous to
planting. The rows should be spaced 12 to 25 feet apart with the
crowns spaced 2 to 5 feet apart in the row. Seedlings produced
from seed planted in April or May can be transplanted in late
fall. The kudzu should be cultivated and weeded until it be-
comes well established. Corn or other row crops may be planted
in the 25 foot space between the rows. Kudzu should not be
grazed for 2 or 3 years after planting.
Temporary grazing crops not used for grazing may be mowed
for hay or silage. Other crops such as velvet beans, Alyce
clover, beggarweed, non-toxic varieties of crotararia and Lespe-
deza sericea also are being used for grazing.

A simple method for identifying plant species is to compare
the type, size, color and shape of the seedheads. Differences in
seedheads of closely related species usually are greater than
those of foliage, roots or growth habits of plants. It is quite
difficult to differentiate certain closely related species when the
seedheads are not available. If the seedheads are not available
the differences in leaf and stem size, shape, thickness, color and
hairiness, and in leaf margins should be carefully observed.
The prominent foliage and seedhead characteristics used for
identifying plants commonly grown for pastures in Florida and
their utility are briefly described and discussed in the subsequent
Plants utilized for pastures in Florida fall in 2 important
botanical families: The grasses (Poacae) and the legumes
(Leguminosae). The grasses and leguminous plants are distin-
guished readily by comparing foliage, root and seeding charac-
teristics. The grasses have simple leaves which consist of the
blade, sheath and collar; most pasture legumes have compound
leaves consisting of leaflets and petiole 6 (Fig. 22). In legumes,
a stipule (small leaf) usually occurs at the junction of the stem
Certain legumes have simple leaves.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

and leaf. Legume seeds are borne in pods of various types; the
grass seeds are generally borne in glumes (hulls). The grasses
have a fibrous root system (no primary or taproot) while the
legumes usually have a taproot or branching taproot system.
Most leguminous plants also have nodules on their roots which
are formed by symbiotic bacteria. These bacteria in the nodules
fix nitrogen, thus leguminous plants are often known as nitrogen-
fixing or soil-improving plants. On soils where legumes have
not been grown the seed should be inoculated with proper bac-
terial cultures so that nodules will form on the roots.

a.: :--ade-

--flC -'^i.'

Typical legume leaf, left. Typical grass leaf, right.

The grasses and legumes generally differ in mineral and pro-
tein contents, the leguminous plants being higher in minerals and
protein than the grasses. It is thus apparent that the fertilizer
and lime requirements of these 2 plant families differ. The legu-
minous plants need more lime, phosphorus and potassium than
the grasses. The grasses need nitrogenous fertilizers along with
minerals for best growth. When possible it is desirable to grow a
mixture of grasses and legumes. Leguminous plants improve the
quality of herbage and increase the yields by furnishing forage
and by improving the soil nitrogen and subsequent grass growth.

Pastures for Florida

Carpet Grass.-Carpet grass (Axonopus affinis Chase, Fig. 23)
is a low-growing perennial grass which spreads by surface run-
ners and seeds. Because of its prostrate growth habit and root-
ing joints, it forms a dense sod. It reaches a height of 10 to
20 inches, depending upon fertility of the soil. The leaf blades
are smooth and
glossy and the
basal leaves are
longer than the
leaves on the
stolon or runner.
This grass
seeds prolifically
during the period
from July through
November. The
long, slender seed-
stalks usually
have 3 branches
and bear many
brownish g r e y
oblong seeds less
than 1/10 inch
Carpet grass is
best adapted to
moist sandy soils,
particularly those
of the flat pine
lands. Because of FIG. 23.-CARPET GRASS.
its adaptation to This is a vigorous, low-growing perennial grass
low fe y ad which spreads by seed and surface runners. The
low fertility and long slender seedstalks have 2 or 3 branches.
its prolific seed-
ing, it tends to become established naturally and is the most com-
mon permanent pasture grass in Florida (Fig. 24). This grass
furnishes feed during the frost-free period. Although heavy
frost kills the leaves, new growth develops from the runners
during warm periods.
It is seeded at the rate of 10 pounds per acre, and is used pri-
marily for permanent pasture. During the summer months
carpet grass may be mowed for hay; the value of the hay is

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

improved greatly when grown with legumes.
Bahia Grass.-There are 3 varieties of Bahia grass (Paspalum
notatum FlUgge)--common, Paraguay and Pensacola. Common
Bahia grass (Fig. 25) is a low-growing perennial spreading by
short, stout, woody runners and by seed. The runners are
rooted heavily with large fibrous roots which form dense, tough
sods, even on drought sandy soils. The leaf blades are gen-
erally hairy on the margins and less than 1/ inch wide. This
grass seeds prolifically during summer, the seedstalks are 1 to
21/2 feet high and usually have 2 (sometimes 3) branches. The
branches on the seedstalks are about 21/2 inches long. The seeds
are oval in shape, yellowish-green in color, glossy in appearance
and about 1/8 inch in diameter.

The wiregrass on this moist sandy soil was closely grazed. Carpet
grass was not seeded, the seed was spread by cattle. Chopping will destroy
the palmetto.

Bahia grass is established with seed planted 1/2 to 1 inch in
depth at the rate of 10 to 20 pounds per acre. The seed often
germinate slowly because they are surrounded by a tough, waxy
coat which does not allow water to enter for germination. Seed
scarification with sulphuric acid has encouraged rapid germi-
nation when good quality seed is treated. Most of the seed is
imported from Cuba and South America, but the grass seeds
readily in Florida. Seed from established pastures should be

Pastures for Florida

harvested, since it is difficult to locate seed for planting new
Germination tests conducted in 1938 and 1939 showed that
commercial seed was generally of poor quality, resulting in poor
germination and stands. More stringent seed importation laws
have been responsible for greatly improved seed quality, which
in turn has im-
proved stands.
Bahia grass is \
widely adapted,
growing on both
high and low
soils. It will grow
on drier soils than
other pasture
grasses because i
of its deep root
system. Like car-
pet grass, it fur-
nishes little feed
during the winter
months. It is pri- ,
marily a pasture
grass, but mow-
ings may be saved
for hay.
Bahia grass, re- -
cently introduced ..-. ,
from Paraguay, j .
produces seed-
stalks similar to
common Bahia,
but the leaf FIG. 25.-BAHIA GRASS.
blades are more This is a low-growing, spreading perennial with
hairy and nar- heavily rooted runners. The seed are yellowish
green in color, waxy in appearance.
rower than in
common Bahia. It seeds very heavily and the seeds are of good
Pensacola Bahia grass is a narrow-leafed type similar to Para-
guay but less hairy. The seeds are smaller than common or
Paraguay Bahia, and more seeds are produced per head because

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

of the longer branches. This grass seeds heavily and the seed is
of excellent quality, so pastures seeded with this variety sod
Dallis Grass (Paspalum dilatatum Poir., Fig. 26) is a peren-
nial bunch grass growing taller than carpet. The seed stems
or seed stalks
reach a height of
20 to 50 inches,
depending u p o n
fertility of the
S j soil. The blades
are 2 to 12 inches
l ong and 1/4 to 1/2
inch in width.
The seed stalks
have from 2 to 11
branches (gener-
ally 3 to 6). The
// mature seeds are
S)brownish in color,
very hairy, oval
in shape and
about 1/8 inch in
/ diameter.
Although Dal-
lis seeds prolific-
/ ally, it often
| germinates poor-
ly because of a
brownish fungus
called ergot
This is a perennial, bunch-type grass. The tall (Claviceps as-
seedstalks have 2 to 11 branches. The hairy seed pall Stevens &
are brownish in color. Hall). Seed is
produced in this country but most of the best quality seed is
imported from Australia. It should be seeded at the rate of
15 to 25 pounds per acre.
Dallis grass needs a higher fertility level than carpet and
Bahia grasses, lime and complete fertilizer high in nitrogen
being particularly important. It is especially suited to be
planted with clovers. It may be used on the very best soils of
the pine lands, provided lime and fertilizer are applied. This

Pastures for Florida

grass is best suited to the muck soils of the Everglades and
to the heavier textured soils of western Florida. It is more
hardy than carpet grass and furnishes considerable feed
during both winter and summer. Although this grass is
primarily used for grazing, the excess summer feed makes
good hay.
Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.).-Common
Bermuda grass (Fig. 27) is a rapidly spreading perennial having
both underground and aboveground creeping stems. The plants
reach a height of
4 to 20 inches,
depending upon
soil fertility. The
leaf blades are
narrow and 1 to
4 or more inches
long. The seed- ,
stalks commonly
have 4 to 5
branches which
are 1 to 2 1/2. /
inches in length.V / -/-
The seeds are
small (less than
1/8 inch long) and ]
grayish to yel- \ \
lowish in color.
muda is best It has surface runners and underground stems.
adapted to well The leaves are narrow and the seedstalks have 4 or 5
drained and fer- branches.
tile soils which are well supplied with lime and complete fertilizer
high in nitrogen. It is particularly adapted to heavier soils.
It often spreads into cultivated areas and is difficult to eradicate.
Pastures of common Bermuda may be established by planted
seed, stems or underground stems. Ten pounds of seed per acre
generally are sufficient to produce good stands.
St. Lucie is a Bermuda grass established and spread by sur-
face runners (Fig. 28). This variety of Bermuda has been used
on the muck and sandy muck soils underlaid with lime on the
lower East Coast of Florida. It has no underground stems.
Some of the improved varieties of Bermuda developed by

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

plant breeders are vigorous in growth habit, resistant to leaf-
spot diseases and more cold-resistant than common Bermuda
(Fig. 29). Coastal and No. 99 varieties appear to be promis-
ing grazing plants.7
These improved Ber-
muda varieties seed
sparsely or not at all;
pastures are estab-
/ lished by planting
Sj underground runners
\ f or stems.
/ The Bermuda
i' grasses are best
S/ adapted to fertile
soils not subject to
flooding. On the bet-
ter drained flat pine-
Sland soils they thrive
\ best when limed and
f fertilized.
S/ Bermuda grasses
Smay be disked or
S" plowed after they are
S well sodded, as this
V stimulates the next
Season's growth. Oats
,'" F L for winter grazing
may be planted after
disking or plowing.
Para Grass (Pani-
cum purpurascens
Raddi.) is a rank-
Lgrowing leafy peren-
FIG. 28.-ST. LUCIE BERMUDA GRASS. nial with long, large
It is similar to common, but has only surface sr e runners
runners and does not produce many seedstalks. f ae run
which root at the
joints, giving rise to independent plants. It grows 3 to 5 feet
in height (Fig. 30). The leaves are generally 4 to 12 inches
long and 1/2 inch or less in width. This grass does not seed
heavily in Florida and is established by spreading runners or

SG. W. Burton. Coastal Bermuda Grass. Georgia Coastal Plain Exp.
Sta. Circ. 10:1-10. 1943.

Pastures for Florida

mature stems and covering by subsequent disking. Para grass
is sensitive to cold injury and is used primarily in southern
Florida. Best growth occurs on rich, low land, especially muck
soils. Under proper management it is an excellent grass for
wet, sandy muck
and muck soils
which are under-
laid with lime.
Newly establish-
ed Para grass \ I
pastures should
be protected until
the grass is 11/2
to 3 feet high and
well sodded. It
should be grazed
rotationally rath-
er than continu-
ously; and an oc-
casional disking
growth. Para
grass can be used .
for hay. ,
Vasey Grass
(Paspalum urvil- '
lei Steud.) resem- )
bles Dallis grass --
but is taller and
more erect in
Coastal and No. 99 appear to be the best varie-
(Fig. 31). The ties, produce vigorous vegetative growth and seed
seedstalks, hairy sparsely or not at all. They have both surface and
underground stems.
at the bases, grow
2 to 6 feet high, bearing 6 to 25 branches. The leaf blades are
3 to 15 inches long and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. The seed is
very hairy, light in weight, greyish brown in color and smaller
than Dallis grass seed. Only a small quantity of commercial
seed is available. However, this grass seeds prolifically along
roadsides, railroads and other locations in Florida. The seed
usually germinates readily.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Vasey grass is best adapted to rich soils or soils that have
been limed and fertilized. Intermittent grazing, requiring 2
or more pastures, is desirable, since this grass grows rather
erect and can be exterminated by close grazing. Vasey grass
is of minor importance in Florida at present.
Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) is a tall (6 to
12 feet high) cane-like perennial plant (Figs. 8, 20 and 32).
Elephant grass is generally considered as another common name
for Napier grass. The leaf blades are 1 to 3 feet long and usually
less than 1 inch wide.
Although Napier grass seeds freely in southern Florida, pas-
tures are more easily established with root or stem cuttings.
This grass may be used for temporary and rotational grazing
and also for hay and silage. Hay is difficult to cure because
of coarseness. Napier grass should not be grazed until it reaches
a height of 3 to 5 feet. Rotational grazing is necessary, 3 to 5
fields being required to furnish continuous grazing. If only
1 field is available it may be grazed until the leaves are removed,
after which cattle should be withdrawn. It is palatable and
steers have made excellent gains when ample leafy herbage is
available. It might be used for fattening animals before mar-
Napier grass should be planted on well fertilized and limed
soils. It is widely adapted from the standpoint of moisture re-
This is a tall perennial which is propagated by stems and runners. The
stems root at the joints to form new plants.

Pastures for Florida

quirements, but does not survive in flooded soils. It makes good
growth on drouthy soils when properly managed.
This grass was distributed to farmers many years ago but
was killed out because it was grazed too heavily and not fertilized
properly, and be-
cause it was sus-
ceptible to eye-
spot disease
ium ocellum
Faris). Eyespot
disease resistant
varieties have
b e e n developed
and distributed in
small quantities
to farmers since
Centipede grass
(Munro) Hack.)
grass is a rapidly
spreading, quick
sodding, low
growing peren-
nial (Fig. 33).
The thick, short- \
jointed, leafy
runners which
t dil fFIG. 31.-VASEY GRASS.
root readily form It resembles Dallis but is more erect and robust.
a dense sod. Dur- The seedstalks have more branches. The seed are
ing summer it smaller and more hairy than those of Dallis.
develops numerous spike-like seedstalks without branches. Most
of the florets are sterile but many good seed are produced.
Cattle carry and distribute seed readily through droppings.
This grass may be established by planting runners 6 to 8
inches apart in rows spaced 12 to 18 inches or pieces of sod may
be planted 1 to 8 feet apart. The widely spaced plantings require
more time to produce sod.
Since it is aggressive, often crowding out more desirable
.grasses. is difficult to eradicate and in many instances has given

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

poor grazing results, centipede is not recommended for pastures.
It is also generally difficult to grow clovers and lespedeza or
other plants in association with centipede grass. It may be
used for lawns, but care should be taken to avoid spreading it
into established pastures.
St. Augustine Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.)
Kuntze.) is commonly used for lawns, but recent tests indicate
that it may be used
for grazing on muck
F soils in the Ever-
glades area. It fur-
1 / nishes more winter
S, grazing than grasses
such as Para, which
are commonly used
in the Everglades. It

flat stems which root
to form dense sods.
It reaches a height of
4 to 18 inches and is
perennial. The seed-
g stalks are flat, 4 to
12 inches long (Fig.
34) and without
branches. No seed is
FIG. 32.-NAPIER GRASS. produced, thus pas-
This a tall, cane-like perennial with short,
thick underground stems. Improved strains (as tures or lawns must
shown on right) are resistant to eyespot dis- be established with
runners. The run-
ners may be planted in rows or disked into the soil during moist
periods and subsequently packed.
Pangola Grass (Digitaria decumbens Stent.) is an introduc-
tion from Africa. It belongs to the wooly-finger grasses, is a
creeping perennial and grows, depending on the fertility of the
soil, from 2 to 4 feet high (Fig. 35). It produces many seed-
stalks with 4 to 6 branches, but very little viable seed.
Pangola grass pastures are established with plants, stems and
runners-plants giving the best stand. The plants may be
spaced 2 to 3 feet apart in 4-foot rows in early spring to July.
Rotting of the plants generally results if they are covered with
soil. The plants may be hand-planted in open rows or pushed

Pastures for Florida

into the soil with a forked stick similar to the method used for
sweet potatoes. Green but rather mature stems and runners,
1/2 ton per acre, may be spread, disked in immediately and
packed. This technique requires favorable soil moisture.
Pangola grass is best adapted to fertile and moist soils. It does
not grow well on flooded soils but will grow on well drained soils.
It is necessary to fertilize before planting, and the more acid
soils should be limed. Pangola grass may be used for pastures
and hay. Grazing tests indicate that it produces nutritious and
palatable herbage.
Cogon Grass (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.) is a perennial
which spreads by underground rootstalks or stems. New plants
which are upright in growth habit form at the joints of the
underground stems. It grows 2 to 6 feet high, depending upon
fertility of the soil. It seeds occasionally, light feathery seed
forming on long seedstalks.

This is a low-growing, dense perennial spreading by vigorous runners.
has spikelike seedstalks and several brown seed usually are present.

This is a perennial which spreads by surface runners. The leaf blades
are waxy in appearance and free of hairs. It may be identified also by the
slender spikelike seedstalks.

It spreads by surface runners which root at the joints, forming new
plants. The seedstalks have 4 to 6 branches. This shows a new planting
which is developing a sod. This grass has been called Digitaria or Digit.

Pastures for Florida

It spreads vigorously by means of underground stems and
occasionally by seed, and is classed as a serious pest on crop land.

White Clover (Trifolium repens L.), also called White Dutch
clover, is the most important legume of pastures in the eastern

part of the United
States. There are
many varieties of
White clover, dif-
fering in leafi-
ness, seeding
habits, size and
other morpholog-
ical characters.
The Louisiana
variety of White
clover is best
adapted to Flor-
White clover,
which grows 3 to
15 inches high, is
a winter annual,
or perennial,
spreading by seed
and surface run-
ners which root
at the joints. The
3 leaflets, which
f o r m compound
leaves, are ovate
in shape and 1/
to 3/ inch in
length. The leaf-
lets are free of

It is readily identified by the whitish seedheads,
leaflets with whitish markings and free of hairs,
and creeping runners which root at the joints.

hairs, frequently have saw-toothed margins and whitish marks
in the center (Fig. 36). White to slightly pink seedheads are
borne on long, slender stems. There are usually 80 to 200 small
yellowish seed per seedhead.
Louisiana White clover seeds prolifically in late spring, pro-
ducing sufficient seed for harvesting in addition to reseeding

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

for the next season's volunteer crop. Under good management
and favorable environmental conditions many plants live through
the summer. Two to 5 pounds of inoculated seed are planted
per acre during a favorable moisture period from October 15
to December. Lighter
States may be used
when it is planted
with a clover mix-
SW This clover is best
adapted to low soils
in northern and cen-
Stral Florida. The
Speak growth period
.; ,occurs from March
through May. One
ton of lime and 600
pounds of 0-14-10
Sjfertilizer per acre
should be applied be-
fore planting. Under
Sf f favorable moisture
and temperature con-
ditions grazing is
furnished from Jan-
uary to June or July.
Hop Clovers: Large
SHop (Trifolium pro-
cumbens L.) and Lit-
tle Hop (Trifolium
FIG. 37.-HOP CLOVERS. dubium Sibth.) are
Little Hop (left) and Large Hop (right) are winter annuals with
readily identified by their bright yellow flowers s s 4 t 1
and prominent veins in the leaflets. stems 4 to 15 iches
long. The branching
stems grow erect in dense stands and semi-prostrate under close
grazing or in sparse stands. These clovers are similar in ap-
pearance and growth habits but Little Hop is smaller. Large
Hop clover has larger seedhead-20 to 40 flowers as compared
with 8 to 12 flowers per seedhead for Little Hop. The leaflets
of both clovers have well marked veins and are free of hairs
(Fig. 37).
Both of these clovers are well adapted to Florida, the soil and

Pastures for Florida

fertilizer requirements being similar to those of White clover.
These clovers will thrive under lower fertility and soil moisture
than White Dutch. Hop clovers reseed satisfactorily or produce
seed for harvesting. There is some objection to growing the
Hop clovers because
they are susceptible
to powdery mildew
(Erysiphe polygoni
DC) which gives the
foliage a greyish ap-
pearance. The mil-
dewed clover is not
toxic. These clovers
furnish grazing pri-
marily from March
to June and are rec-
ommended particu-
larly for mixed clover
plantings. One to 3
pounds per acre may
be included in the
Persian Clover
(Trifolium resupina-
tur L.) is a winter
annual which grows
6 to 20 inches tall.
The stems are erect
in dense stands and
decumbent in sparse
stands or under close
stands or under close FIG. 38.-PERSIAN CLOVER.
grazing. The leaflets, .
T It is readily identified by the lavender flowers,
1/4 to 3/ i n c h in fibrous seedpods and saw-tooth leaf margins.
length, are free of
pubescence and have saw-tooth margins. The lavender flowers
and inflated fibrous pods (Fig. 38) distinguish this clover from
other species. The seeds are dark greenish-black in color and,
when seeded alone, should be planted during fall at the rate of
4 to 8 pounds per acre.
Persian clover has soil requirements similar to White clover,
growing best on rich low soils. The peak grazing period is during
March to June. It is recommended in mixed pasture seedings.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Red Clover.-Although many varieties of Red clovers (Tri-
folium pratense L.) are considered agricultural biennials in other
states they generally behave as winter annuals under Florida
conditions, due to leaf diseases and insect injury. Varieties
of Red clover grow
1Y 12 to 30 inches tall,
| the leaflets are hairy
Sand have prominent
whitish marks in the
center (Fig. 39). The
reddish purple seed-
heads distinguish
this clover from all
other species.
Several Red clover
varieties have been
tested. All varieties
furnish considerable
grazing during March
to June, but reseed-
ing for the winter
volunteer crop is not
satisfactory in penin-
sular Florida, due to
Sthe susceptibility to
injury from powdery
mildew and also be-
-. cause of the lateness
"of seed production
and consequent
drought injury. This
FIG. 39.-RED CLOVER. clover is better
It may be distinguished by the reddish purple adapted to western
seedheads and hairy leaflets with white mark- Florida than to penin-
ings in the center.
sular Florida.
Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.), 8 to 30 inches
tall, has very hairy leaflets with whitish markings in the center
and produces long, crimson colored seedheads (Fig. 40).
The varieties of this clover differ greatly in adaptation, but
none has proved to be satisfactory for peninsular Florida. Pre-
liminary tests indicate that certain strains reseed and make
satisfactory growth in western Florida. Crimson, like other

Pastures for Florida

clovers, is planted during the fall. This clover is used as a cover
and hay crop and for grazing.
Carolina Clover.-Although this clover (Trifolium carolinia-
num Michx.) occurs naturally along roadsides and in many pas-
tures, it is generally
considered of minor
importance. Carolina
clover is a winter an-
nual growing 2 to 6
inches in height. The
growth habit is simi-
lar to White clover.
The small seedheads
are purplish in color
and turn brown at ma-
turity. The seed are
larger than those of
White clover. There
is no commercial seed
Black Medic clover
(Medicago lupulina
L.) is a winter annual
growing 3 to 16 inches
tall. The leaflets, 1/4
to 3/4 inch in length,
are hairy and a minute
point is generally pres-
ent at the apex of the
central vein (Fig. 41).
The flowers are yel-
low and the s e~As FIG. 40.-CRIMSON CLOVER.
are borne in kidney- Has very hairy leaflets with faint whitish
marks in the center and long, maroon colored
shaped pods which seedheads.
turn black when ma-
ture. This clover is planted during the fall and it furnishes
grazing primarily during February to May, at which time it
reseeds and dies.
There are many varieties of Black Medic seed, differing in
adaptation. Imported seed is generally poorly adapted. This
clover should be planted on the heavier textured soils or on sandy
soils with favorable moisture conditions but not subject to

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

flooding. More lime is needed than for White Dutch clover.
Although this clover may be planted alone, it is generally recom-
mended for mixed seedings. It may be planted at the rate of
2 to 4 pounds per acre in mixtures or 7 to 12 pounds when
seeded alone.
California Bur clover (Medicago hispida Gaertn.) is a winter
annual, 8 to 24 inches
tall. This clover is
readily distinguished
by its yellow flowers,
coiled po~dsian~i the
prominent tootiTed
stipules (small leaf-
like projections)
which develop where
S the leaf petiole joins
the main stem (Figs.
22 and 42). The pods
may be with or with-
out spurs. The leaf-
lets are free of hairs
and 1/4 to / inch in
Soil requirements
for California Bur
are similar to those
Sof Black Medic
clover. Bur clover is
planted at the rate of
8 to 15 pounds of
hulled seed per acre
when seeded alone or
a 2 to 5 pounds in mix-
FIG. 41.-BLACK MEDIC CLOVER. tures. It is desirable
Readily identified by the black seedpods and to seed this clover
hairy leaflets with a small point at the place with a clover mixture
where the central vein terminates.th a clover mixture
as it often reseeds
poorly due to anthracnose (Colletotrichum trifolii Bain &
Essary), a disease which attacks the stems.
Other Bur clovers, such as Southern Spotted Bur or Giant Bur
and Manganese Bur (Medicago arabica (L.) All.), also have
proved to be very susceptible to anthracnose.

Pastures for Florida

Hubam Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba Desv. var. annual Auct.),
an annual variety of biennial white sweet clover, grows 18 to
70 inches tall. It is used as a winter annual in Florida. This
clover may be distinguished from all others by the small white
flowers borne on seedstalks 1 to 5 inches long (Fig. 43). The
yellowish-brown seed are borne in dark brownish pods. The
leaflets generally
have notched mar-
gins and are 1/2 to
11/4 inches long.
This sweet clover
is widely adapted
from the standpoint
of soi moisture,
growing best on
moist soils not sub-
ject to flooding. The
soil should be well
limed, 1 to 3 tons per
acre generally being
sufficient. Grazing
reaches its peak dur-
ing March and April.
It does not tolerate
very close grazing.
Adapted strains seed
prolifically i n I a t e
spring and seed has
been harvested with
combines. It is seed-
ed at the rate of 8
to 15 pounds per acre
when planted alone FIG. 42.-CALIFORNIA BUR CLOVER.
or at the rate of 2 to t i
or at the rate of 2 to Recognized by its prominent, toothed stipules,
5 pounds in mixed yellowish flowers and coiled seedpods.
clover plantings.
Cattle do not eat this clover readily at first because it tastes
bitter, due to a bitter-sweet organic substance. This organic
substance gives Hubam clover a sweet odor which is character-
istic of many of the sweet clovers. Usually cattle eat it readily
after they have had access to it for some time.
Yellow Annual Sweet Clover (Melilotus indica L.) is very

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

similar to the Hubam variety, except that it is smaller in growth
and possesses yellow instead of white blossoms. It is sometimes
called Bitter clover and is not grazed as readily as Hubam. Its
soil requirements are similar to those of Hubam. It is seeded at
the rate of 8 to
r 12 pounds when
seeded alone or
i in mixtures at
the rate of 2 to 4
pounds per acre.
.- Lespedeza
S. (Lespedeza stri-
\ t ata (Thunb.) H.
I 1. and A.). -The
lespedezas in this
species group are
summer annuals
I and include vari-
eties of common,
Kobe and Ten-
Snessee 76. Com-
mon and Tennes-
see 76 are low-
growing, 2 to 12
i /.inches tall, and
% especially toler-
j ant of close graz-
ing (Fig. 44). The
SKobe variety is
At larger than com-
mon, being suit-
FIG. 43.-HUBAM SWEET CLOVER. mon, bei suit-
able for hay and
Identified readily by its small white flowers and
brownish seedpods borne on elongated seedstalks. grazing.
Leaflets are relatively long and narrow, toothed The leaflets,
with distinct
veins, are 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length and free of hairs. The flowers
are purple or pink in color and small black seed are borne in
brown seedpods. The Kobe seeds are larger than those of com-
mon or Tennessee 76.
Lespedeza is particularly adapted to clay soils or to soils with
clay near the surface. It also makes good growth on sandy
soils which have good moisture. High sandy soils are not suit-

Pastures for Florida

able because they do not hold moisture and often harbor root-
knot nematodes. Lespedeza planted in February or March fur-
nishes grazing during June to fall. A mixture of 10 pounds
each of Kobe and common varieties is recommended.

I ',$ '

Has small purplish flowers and black seed in brown pods. The leaflets
have distinct veins.
Korean Lespedeza (Lespedeza stipulacea Maxim.) is a sum-
mer annual similar to other annual varieties. It may be dis-
mer annual similar to other annual varieties. It may be dis-

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

tinguished from other varieties by the hairy leaflets. Korean
lespedeza has been tested but the strains tested have proved un-
satifactory for Florida. Some later maturing strains now under
study may prove adapted.
Perennial Lespedeza (Lespedeza sericea (Thunb.) Benth.) is
grown to some ex-
tent on clay soils or
I soils with clay sub-
Ssoils. Some peren-
nial lespedeza pas-
Stures have been
< established, but satis-
factory methods of
establishment and
maintenance have
'not yet been found.
Kudzu (Pueraria
thunbergiana (Sieb.

is a perennial which
Spreads by long vine-
i' | like stems which root
.at the joints to form
new plants. The leaf
blades are 3 to 6
inches long and the
\creeping vine-like
stems often grow
FIG. 45.-ALYCE CLOVER. more than 30 feet
Is a rather tall legume with purple flowers and per season. This
slender, bean-like pods.
plant is used primari-
ly for temporary pasture and for hay. It is killed out if grazed
heavily and continuously.
Kudzu is adapted especially to the heavier textured soils. The
soil should be fertilized with 300 to 600 pounds per acre of
0-14-10 and manure if available. It is established with crowns
spaced 2 to 3 feet in 12- to 25-foot rows and is cultivated to
control weeds. Three years are required to establish kudzu
satisfactorily. Corn may be planted between the kudzu rows.
Alyce Clover (Alysicarpus vaginalis (L.) DC.), a summer
annual, grows erect in dense stands or semi-decumbent in
sparse stands, reaching a height of 18 to 40 inches. The leaflets

Pastures for Florida

are 1/2 to 2 inches long (Fig. 45). The flowers are purple in color
and small brownish seeds are borne in small cylindrical and
jointed pods.
This legume is used primarily as a hay crop but may be used
also for light grazing. It is adapted to well drained soils free
of heavy root-knot (nematode) infestation. Clay soils are pre-
ferred because root-knot is not as injurious as in sandy soils.
For hay it is planted at the rate of 10 to 20 pounds of seed
per acre, while 8 to 10 pounds are generally sufficient if planted
for grazing. It should be planted in April or early May.

A good grazing program consists of a natural sequence of graz-
ing crops supplied by native range grasses and both improved
permanent and temporary pastures.
Although improved permanent pastures produce more high
quality herbage and beef per acre than nativegrasses, most of
the grazing is furnished by native pastures at present. Native
range grasses produce 5 to 10 pounds of beef per acre as com-
pared with a range of 50 to 700 pounds for improved permanent
The desirability of utilizing improved permanent pastures
depends upon establishment and maintenance costs and subse-
quent returns. When permanent pastures are established the
best soils available should be utilized, as good soils produce
better returns than poor soils.
Primary factors to be considered when establishing permanent
pastures include: Water control, fencing, destruction of ob-
jectionable vegetation, adaptation of pasture plants, fertilization,
seedbed preparation, and planting technique.
Surface drainage is necessary in many areas where standing
water causes scalding and mortality of seedling plants. It is
best to use many shallow ditches to avoid over drainage. Deep
ditches should be provided with water gates to withhold water
flow during dry periods.
Inexpensive, 3- to 4-strand heavy duty barbed wire fences
are generally satisfactory for controlling cattle. If hogs range
freely, woven wire should be used to exclude them, since they
damage pastures by rooting.
The objectionable vegetation may be destroyed by heavy disks,
rotary choppers, mowers and fire or with various combinations,
depending upon the type of vegetation to be destroyed.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Plants used for pastures differ greatly in temperature, fer-
tility, moisture and soil requirements. The adaptability of the
more important pasture species is discussed.
Most Florida soils are low or deficient in 1 or more of the
mineral nutrients which are essential for rapid, normal plant
growth. The fertilizer practices depend upon the plants to be
grown, the fertilization history of the soil, and upon the soil
The grass species differ greatly in growth responses to liming
and fertilization. Carpet and varieties of Bahia grasses grow
on lower fertility levels and with less lime than Dallis, Pangola
and Bermuda varieties. Growth responses and composition of
plants show that the flat pine soils are deficient primarily in
phosphorus, but also in calcium, potassium and nitrogen.
Lime and fertilizer recommendations are given for establish-
ing various grasses and legumes on the flat pine lands, hammock
soils, and sandy muck soils underlaid with lime.
Proper fertilization increases the growth and improves the
mineral content of pasture plants.
Seedbeds should be free of weeds and firm. It is desirable to
cover grass seed lightly, especially Dallis and Bahia varieties.
Legume seed should be inoculated. Planting dates vary with
grass and legume species.
Proper management of established pastures encourages the
maintenance of desirable plant species and the production of a
good yield of high quality herbage. These objectives may be
accomplished by fertilization, weed control and careful grazing
Erect annual or biennial weeds such as thistles or dogfennel
may be controlled by mowing or with rotary choppers.
On the mineral soils the established grass pastures respond
primarily to nitrogen. Application of other minerals in con-
junction with nitrogen improves growth and composition.
Since established grass pastures are stimulated primarily
by nitrogen fertilizers, and because nitrogen fertilizers do not
accumulate in soils, it is apparent that legumes (provided they
are adapted) should be grown with grasses to supply nitrogen.
On adapted soils grass-legume mixtures furnish a better quality
of productive herbage than grasses alone.
Annual fertilization is necessary for maintenance of legume-
grass pastures on most soils. Fertilizer recommendations for
maintaining grasses and leguminous pasture plants are included.

Pastures for Florida

The grazing management depends upon the growth habits
and growth stage of plants. These factors are discussed in
Certain seeds, such as those of Bahia grasses, are scarce.
Harvesting of seed from established pastures should be en-
couraged. Several seed harvesting methods are discussed.
Temporary pastures supply feed during periods when other
feed sources are insufficient or of low quality. Temporary pas-
tures may be planned to furnish some green feed any time of
the year. Good cultural practices and improved or adapted seed
sources should be used.
The characteristics for identifying and a brief description of
pasture plants are given. Best uses for the various plants are
Criticisms and suggestions, especially with that portion of
the manuscript dealing with grazing management, by the late
W. A. Leukel, are gratefully acknowledged.



Giving Adaptation, Planting Date and Rate, Grazing Season, Management, Height, Growth Cycle and Other Uses
Applications of | Rate Grazing Habit Other
Name Soils Area Pounds Date Season Manage- Palat- Nutrition Height and Cycle Uses
Lime Fertilizer' per Acre ment ability (inches)
moist to 8 continuous fair fair prostrate Seed
poorly all improves improves to any 2 Apr.-Nov. or to to 2 to 6 and
Carpet drained Florida growth growth 15 Time ____ rotational good good perennial Hay
S 10 continuous I t prostrate Seed
Bahia, widely all improves improves to any Apr.-Nov. or good good 2 to 8 and
Common adapted Florida growth growth 20 Time rotational perennial Hay
I 8 continuous prostrate Seed
Bahia, widely all improves improves to any 2 Mar. 15- or good good 2 to 8 and
Pensacola adapted Florida growth growth 12 Time Nov. rotational perennial Hay
10 continuous prostrate Seed
Bahia, widely all improves improves to any Apr.-Nov. or good 2 to 8 and
Paraguay adapted Florida growth growth 20 Time rotational perennial Hay
I- 15 c continuous vr semi-erect Seed
Dallis muck and all necessary necessary to any 2 Mar.-Dec. ro excellent very 3 to 10 and
clay soils Florida 25 Time rotational good perennial Hay
--I- 8 3 continuous decumbent
Bermuda widely all necessary necessary to any Apr-Nov. or avery very 2 to 6 per Hay
Common adapted Florida 12 Time rotational good good perennial
-moist to I 8 4 semi-erect Seed
S I I N E t nal od 4 to 14 and

poorly all necessary necessary
d1..., ; nece Fsl r >i I I


0 1 1 -


ra n

pr.- ov. ro a o

Giving Adaptation, Planting Date and Rate, Grazing Season, Management, Height, Growth Cycle and Other Uses

Applications of | Rate
Name Soils Area Pounds Date
G Lime1R Fertilizer D WI er Acre

IF I Grazing Habit
Season Manage- Palat- Nutrition eight and Cycle
ment ability (inches)


1,200 canes July 36 erect silage
Napier widely all improves necessary ,00 root- u May-Oct. rotational excellent excellent to ere and
adapted Florida growth stalks 4 March 1 1_ 1 60 perennial hay
200-600 any continuous 2 decumbent
Bermuda sweet all necessary pounds of time Apr.-Nov. ntuous very good very good to decumbent hay
St. Lucic* mucks Florida runners Spring rotational o10 perennial
pounds of any continuous 3 decumbent
Bermuda widely all necessary necessary runners time Apr.-Nov. or very good very good to hay
Coastal adapted Florida and root- Spring rotational 15 perennial
muck and I l' to 1o/, any -I -20 idecumbentI
Para smi southern improves necessary on time May-Oct. rotational very good very good to hay
mucks Florida growth runners Spring 50 perennial __
St nea | %to V |any continuous e2 prostrate
st swet al necessary ton of timeo Mar.-Nov. or iod I II trt
200-500 S i continuous 8 decumbent
Pangola widely all improves necessary pounds of Spring Apr.-Nov. olr excellent very good to e en hay
adapted Florida growth plants rotational 1 _____ i perennial _
Centipede widely all improves improves ton of time reco- rostrat lawns
Adapted Florida growth growth runners Spring mended I perennial only


| | P L A N T I N G


i lq -- .........


Giving Adaptation, Planting Date and Rate, Grazing Season, Management, Height, Growth Cycle and Other Uses

Applications of II Rate Grazing Habit Other
Name Soils Area I Pou"nds Date Season Manage- Palat- Nutrition Height and Cycle Uses
Lime' Fertilizer1' per Acre ment ability (inches)
best in cen- o
Louisiana moist to trial and Oct 15 rotational prostrate seed
White poorly northern necessary necessary 2 to 5 to Feb.-July or excellent excellent 3 to 10 annual or and
Dutch drained Florida Jan. 1 continuousperennial hay
soils high best in cen-
in organic tral and Oct. 15 March- rotational decumbent seed
Persian matter or northern necessary necessary 3 to 6 to June or excellent excellent 3 to 10 and
clay Florida Jan. 1 continuous annual hay
best in cen-
tral and Oct. 15 rotational decumbent seed
Hop northern necessary necessary 3 to 6 to Feb.-June or excellent excellent 2 to 6 and
moist Florida Jan. 1 continuous annual hay
drained best in cen- OI 15 | I
California soils with tral and Oct. 15 rotational decumbent seed
Bur clay sub- northern necessary necessary 8 to 15 to Feb.-June or very good excellent 3 to 12 and
soils also Florida Jan. 1 continuous annual hay
high lime bestin cen- I
Black soils trial and Oct. 15 rotational decumbent seed
taaor and
Medic northern necessary necessary 7 to 12 to Feb.-June or excellent excellent 2 to 8 and
Florida Jan. 1 continuous annual hay
best in cen-
Hubam Ann same as tral and Oct. 15 fair to erect seed
White Black northern necessary necessary 8 to 12 to Feb.-June rotational good excellent 8 to 20 and
Sweet Medic, also Florida Jan. 1 annual hay
poorly best in cen-
Yellow drained tral and Oct. 15 erect seed
Annual soils northern necessary necessary 8 to 12 to Feb.-June rotational fair very good 6 to 15 and
Sweet _Florida Jan. 1 annual hay
best in cen- I
Lespedeza tral and Feb. to rotational prostrate seed
Common medium to northern necessary necessary 10 to 25 April June-Nov. or excellent excellent 2 to 6 and
well dain- Florida __ __ continuous | annual hay
ed, clay best in cen-
Lespedeza subsoil trial and Feb. to decumbent seed
Kobe desirable northern necessary necessary 10 to 25 April June-Nov. rotational excellent excellent 4 to 12 and
Florida __ annual hay

Giving Adaptation, Planting Date and Rate, Grazing Season, Management, Height, Growth Cycle and Other Uses

S Applications of |I Rate [ Grazing 1I Habit Other
Name Soils Area I I Pounds Date Season Manage- Palat- Nutrition Height j and Cycle Uses
SLime 1 Fertilizeer1 per Acre ment ability (inches)

Medium to continuous 2
Bahia- well all necessary 7necs Bahia any r Apr.-Nov. or very good very good to Seed
Bermuda drained Florida 5 Bermuda time rotational 8 Hay
wel al ry7Bha ay r-v a

medium to
Bahia- poorly all
. Carpet drained Florida

improves improves 7 Bahia any Apr.-Nov or good good
growth growth 5 Carpet time rotational

- Seed


La. White best in cen-
Dutch, 60%, medium to trial and 4 to 6 Oct. 15 continuous 3Seed
and Hop drained Florida mixture Jan. 1 rotational 10
best mcen- F
Cal. Bur, medium to tral and 4 of Oct. 15 continuous 3 Seed
Bl. Medic well northern necessary necessary each to Feb.-July or excellent excellent to Hay
and Hubam drained Florida Jan. 1 rotational 12
Cal. Bur,
Bl. Medic, medium to best in cen- 3 Cal. Bur Oct. 15 continuous 3
Hubam and drained trial and necessary necessary 3 Bl. Medic to Feb.-July excellent to
TL. White and eday northern I 3 Hubam Jan. 1 rotational 15Fe y Ha
Iutch 1 subsoil Florida 2 La. W.D. _______ ______
best in cen-
Common medium to tral and 10 of February continuous 2 Seed
and Kobe well northern necessary necessary each to June-Nov. or excellent excellent to Hay
Lespedeza drained Florida __ ____ April rotational 12 |

1 See pages 24 and 25 and 34, 35 and 37.
2 Any time, depending on prevailing weather -October to April is usually the best planting season.
3 May be planted with stems.
4 Canes to be cut into sections before planting.
6 The clover or lespedeza mixtures should be used with prostrate growing grasses or grass mixtures.



Giving Adaptation, Fertilization, Breeding Rates and Dates, Grazing Seasons and Management and Other Uses

Crop and ADAPTATION BEFORE PLANTING I Broad- Seeding Grazing Manage- Ready for Other
Variety Soils Area Lime I Fertilizer I Drill c ast Period Season ment Grazing Uses
Oat---Quincy northern I
Red, Quincy and 200 Ibs. of 2-10-4, Sept. 15 Dec.- intermittent grain
White or western 3-8-5, 4-7-5 or 3 bu. 3 bu. to May or 5-10 and
Florilee Florida 1 a similar fertilizer Jan. 1 rotational hay
Oats--Fla. 167, a central ____
Fla. Black, c and 200 lbs. of 2-10-4, Sept. 15 Dec.- intermittent grain
Fulghum, or southern | 3-8-5, 4-7-5 or 3 bu. 3 bu. to April or 5-10 and
above varieties 5 Florida similar fertilizer Jan. 1 rotational hay

Rye-Fla. Black, entire 2 200 lbs. of 2-10-4, Sept. 15 Dec.- intermittent grain
Ga. Black or State 3-8-5, 4-7-5 or 1 bu. 1 bu. to April or 5-10 and
Abruzzi __ similar fertilizer Jan. 1 rotational hay
Millet a 400-600 lbs. of I intermittent hay
Cattail or entire 4-7-5, 5-7-5 or .5-10 10-20 Mar. 1- May- or 15-40 and
Pearl State similar fertilizer lbs. lbs. July Oct. rotational silage
Sudan 400-600 lbs. of intermittent
Tift or entire 4-7-5, 5-7-5 or 10 lbs. 20 lbs. Mar. 1- May- or 15-40 hay
Commercial State o similar fertilizer July Oct. rotational
Cowpeas-- 0 200-300 lbs. of April
Brabham or widely entire S 0-14-10 or similar 1 to 1 1-2 bu. to June- intermittent 20-30 hay
Iron adapted State fertilizer bu. __July Oct. ___ ___
well 200-300 lbs. of April intermittent hay
Alyce Clover drained entire 0-14-10 or similar 10-20 10-20 or July- or 10-20 and
soil State fertilizers. bs. May Oct. rotationalseed

Best in

and west- S .
ern Florida ".i

northern '
Florida < a

Crowns during winter
400 lbs. of 0-14-10 when dormant or seed-
and manure if lings in fall spaced 2-3
available ft. apart in 25 ft. rows

15-30 20-30
400 lbs. of 0-14-10 lbs. lbs.

1 Adanted to other areas for grazing.


clay or

serecia clay

or early




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