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How Grass Grows

How Grass Grows

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How Grass Grows

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  1. How Grass Grows Developed by: Wendy Williams, NRCS, Bozeman, Montana UNCE, Reno, Nev.

  2. Topics to be covered: • How plants make food • Legumes and grasses • How pasture plants grow • Growth and reproduction • Managing growing points • Plant identification • Determining forage yield

  3. How plants make food for growth

  4. What plants are growing in my pasture? • Legumes • Grasses • Weeds (we’ll talk about them later) UNCE, Reno, Nev.

  5. Legumes

  6. flower leaf stem leaflet stolon taproot Parts of a legume A. Miller

  7. How legumes grow • Vegetative growth • Bud stage • Flowering NCSU

  8. Grasses

  9. Parts of a grass plant NRCS, Bozeman, Mont.

  10. Grasses consist of several growth segments Each segment contains a: • Leaf • Node • Internode • Axillary bud or potential bud – can produce a new stem or tiller NRCS, Bozeman, Mont.

  11. Penn State Univ. OSU 2 tillers developing from the crown of the plant A joint (node)

  12. Growing Points • Location where cells divide and produce new growth • Occur close to the ground early in the growing season • Become elevated above ground as the growing season progresses NRCS, Bozeman, Mont.

  13. Stages of grass growth • Vegetative • Growth of leaves • Elongation • Lengthening of stem internodes, also called jointing • Boot stage is the end of elongation • Reproductive • Development of seedhead and seed

  14. Plant reproduction • Grass plants reproduce by forming seed heads • Some plants also reproduce by sending out spreading roots or shoots USDA NRCS UNCE, Reno, Nev.

  15. Regrowth Intact growing points Growing point level Short-shoot phase of growth Regrowth Growing points removed; must regrow from basal buds Long-shoot phase of growth (elongated internodes)

  16. Forage growth and management USDA NRCS

  17. Forage growth patterns • Growing points at ground level • Growing points on the stem • Growing points at the stem tips Smooth brome

  18. Carbohydrate reserves (food) • Stored in roots, rhizomes, stolons and base of stem • Used for first spring growth of dormant plants • Allow rapid regrowth from stubble Penn State Univ. Kentucky bluegrass rhizome

  19. Adapted from NRCS by A. Miller

  20. Adapted from NRCS by A. Miller

  21. Adapted from NRCS, Bozeman, Mont.

  22. Take half and leave half Adapted from NRCS, Bozeman, Mont. by A. Miller

  23. UNCE, Reno, Nev.

  24. Nutrient content by plant growth stage A B C Adapted from www.ag.ndsu.edu by A. Miller

  25. Managing for productivity • Early to mid-season, maximum forage production can be obtained by keeping the plant in a vegetative state by preventing seed head production • Depending on the species, you may want to let the grass form a seed head at the end of the season

  26. Identifying grasses UNCE, Reno, Nev.

  27. Plant life cycles • Annual • Biennial • Perennial OSU

  28. Cool-season plants • Optimum temperature range 65 to 75 degrees F • Productive in spring and fall • Reduced growth in summer • Higher in crude protein • Respond to nitrogen fertilizer • Orchardgrass, fescues, perennial ryegrass and bromes are examples

  29. Warm-season plants • Better at using atmospheric nitrogen • Grow best at high temperatures (90 to 95 degrees F) • Lower in protein but protein is more efficiently used by animals • Triggered by day lengths • Examples are big and little bluestem, switchgrass, Indiangrass, and sudangrass

  30. Cool-season versus warm-season grass productivity A. Miller

  31. Cool-season bunchgrasses • Growth occurs in early spring or late fall • Grows in bunches or clumps • Grass propagates by seed only • More elevated leaves • Grazing must be managed to optimize productivity

  32. Tall fescue www.agry.purdue.edu National Forage and Grass Curriculum www.aginfonet.com

  33. Orchardgrass www.agry.purdue.edu www.aginfonet.com

  34. Perennial ryegrass www.agry.purdue.edu

  35. Annual ryegrass www.forages.orst.edu

  36. Timothy www.argy.purdue.edu www.aginfonet.com

  37. Crested wheatgrass National Park Service www.aginfonet.com

  38. Siberian wheatgrass APMC, Idaho

  39. Tall wheatgrass www.usask.ca

  40. Intermediate wheatgrass www.agric.gov.ab.ca

  41. Pubescent wheatgrass NRCS, Bozeman, Mont.

  42. Slender wheatgrass USDA Plant Gallery

  43. Basin wildrye plants.usda.gov Aberdeen Plant Materials Center, Idaho.

  44. Russian wildrye www.inspection.ga.ca prairiewild.com

  45. Cool-season sod-forming grasses • Growth occurs in early spring or late fall • Growth forms a mat of roots or sod • Plants propagate from both seed and rhizomes or stolons • More tolerant of grazing

  46. Kentucky bluegrass www.agry.purdue.edu

  47. Brome, annual species • Soft chess / Blando brome • Japanese brome • Red brome • Undesirable species • Ripgut • Cheatgrass

  48. Soft chess / Blando brome elib.cs.berkeley.edu

  49. Japanese brome incolor.inebraska.com