Volume 25 Number 2 r Ppl
APRIL 1, 1915,
W. A. McRAE
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
Entered January 81, 1903, at Tallahassee, Florida, as second-clau
matter under Act of Congress of June, 1900.
THESE BULLETINS ARE ISSUED FRE TO THOSE REQUESTING THEM
T. J. APPLEYARD, STATB PRINTER
COUNTY MAP OF STATE OF FLORIDA.
BY JOHN M. ScorrT.
This grass (Tricholaena rosea) is an annual grass from
South Africa, which is now commonly grown in many
tropical and semi-tropical countries. Sometimes it is
called "Australian Redtop," or "Hawaiian Redtop," but
it is not related to the true redtop. It was introduced
into Florida some twenty years ago. It is now grown
abundantly in Marion, Lake, Sumter, Orange and Polk
Counties, and to some extent in all parts of South
Natal grass is sometimes confused with Rhodes grass.
However, there is no likeness between the two, except that
they are both of African origin. In the Natal grass the
seeds are borne in loose, pink, downy, branching sprays,
the color of which fades to almost white when the seed
Natal grass makes its best growth on any good vege-
table land. It will grow on quite sandy soil, but will
not produce as good yields as it will on the better soils.
The preparation of the seed bed for Natal grass is
similar to that for any other cultivated crop. It is not
necessary to prepare a deep seed bed, but it is essential
to see that the surface is well pulverized. Plow the land
"broadcast" to a depth of four to six inches. Then pre-
Ipare the seed bed by the use of the harrow. If the sur-
face is rough, it may be necessary to harrow the field
several times. The tooth harrow or the Acme harow are
two good implements that can be used to advantage for
The seed may be sown broadcast, or it can be planted
in rows eight or ten inches apart. The seed is very-light
and fluffy and it is difficult to scatter it uniformly over
the surface of the soil. This, however, can be overcome
to a considerable extent if the seed is mixed with moist
sand. If the sand is made too wet it will not be possible
to get an even distribution. It will require ten to four-
teen pounds of seed to plant an acre. It will always be
found best to use a liberal quantity of seed, so as to get
a good stand.
Care should be taken not to cover the seed too deeply.
If the seed is covered too deeply a poor stand is likely to
be the result. The seed is very small, and it is not pos-
sible for it to come up through a heavy covering of soil.
Natal grass seed is widely distributed by the wind, and
it may come up from seed in cultivated fields or else-
where like crab grass. It is more or less winter-killed in
centrall Florida, but farther south, or in warm winters,
it may live over from one season to the next. There
should be no fear of it becoming a pest in cultivated
fields, for it can be eradicated without ldiffinlty. It
ripens seed uniformly, so if it is made into Ihay just be-
fore it blooms, no seeds will he scattered, and next year
there will he little or no Natal grass in that field.
If the seed is sown about May 1, the first crop of hay
will be ready for harvesting about July 15. Natal grass
requires about eighty to eighty-five days from seeding to
maturity under favorable conditions.
The yield of hay per acre varies greatly, depending
upon the soil and climatic conditions. The heavier yields
will, of course, be obtained from the better soils.
Natal grass was first planted by the Experiment Sta-
tion in 1892, and on the Station farm at Gainesville in
May, 1908, where it has been growing each year since.
The average yield of hay per acre during the past four
years has been about one and a quarter tons. The
heaviest yield of hay during one season was 2.6 tons per
acre: this being the yield of two cuttings. The soil upon
which it was grown is what is classed as high pine land.
such as would produce 15 to 20 bushels of corn per acre.
The following figures give some idea of the feeding
value of Natal grass hay when compared with timothy:
Moisture ............. 9.75 per cent. 1:3.2 per cent.
Fibre ................ .36.75 29.0 "
Ash .................. 5.02 4.4
Protein ............... 7.45 5.9 "
Starch, sugar, etc.......39.23 45.0 "
Fats, etc............ .1.80 2.5
Large quantities of hay of various kinds are shipped
into Florida each year. When hay was cheap, the buy-
ing of a few tons each winter did not require tire expen-
diture of much cash. But now when we have to pay as
much or more than $1.00 or $1.50 per hundred for hay,
the expenditure for this feed alone soon amounts to sev-
eral hundred dollars. Thus a large sum of money is sent
out of the State each year for a product that we can and
should produce at home. Every ton of hay produced on
the farm means that much extra profit for the season's