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upat5
Nov 26, 2016 3:21 PM CST
Hi.

Just wondering about something I read...I am trying to id some grasses. One of them I think is Orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) a pretty common, widespread naturalised species. But in the description it says ..."does not spread vegetatively"....this seems really odd to me...I mean, it's all over my property which also has a big population of graniverous birds and mice so how did it get there? I can't believe it seeded itself and as far as I can tell no one planted plugs of this stuff...it just seems that all grass spread vegetatively to some extent....doesn't it?!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Nov 26, 2016 3:51 PM CST
What they mean is that it is a "bunch grass", so it only forms clumps and does not spread further by rhizomes or stolons as do some other grasses. So the individual clumps most likely came from seed.

upat5
Nov 26, 2016 8:22 PM CST
Thank-you Sue. I am confused then...I have id'd Andropogon virginicus and Glyceria canadensis and thanks to you, I think I've positively id'd Dactylis glomerata but the D. glomerata seems to make up about 75% of the grass in the meadow and I have a hard time believing that is all from seed esp. since the previous owners mowed and bushwacked everything to the ground and there would have been little chance of anything going to seed. Maybe I need to get some good books on grasses....any suggestions?

Thank-you!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Nov 26, 2016 9:43 PM CST
If it's a meadow, is it possible it has been used for pasture or hay in the past? Orchard grass can be used for that purpose. It does pop up in lawns also and I think I read somewhere that it may sneak in in grass seed mixes. I was going by the overall look of the plant, including the flat and whitish leaf bases, but to identify a grass more definitively it would be necessary to look at more detailed characteristics like whether the sheath is split, auricles present or absent, length and type of ligule, rolled in the bud or folded, shape of leaf tip and so on. Flowers help too but presumably there aren't any? There's a web site that may help although it is from Missouri so there may be some differences in what grows there. This first page shows some of the characteristics to look for, and the individual grass links are down the left side panel and include Dactylis:

http://extension.missouri.edu/...

I can't think of a book to recommend off the top of my head. The one I usually look at first here is one on weeds of Quebec but that may not include grasses that grow in your area.


Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Nov 27, 2016 9:05 AM CST
Check with your Ag. Extension Service. They will probably have information on pasture grasses in your area. That meadow was probably planted by seed by some previous owner.
Porkpal

upat5
Nov 28, 2016 10:48 AM CST
Thank-you both for your suggestions. They are very helpful. I guess I should have mentioned that the property is in the Appalachian mtns and while there are farms at lower elevations I am fairly sure this land was not previously a "meadow" per se. I think the previous owners bought the land about 12 yrs ago. Prior to this the land was largely wooded and undisturbed for at least 30 yrs. The previous owners built the house and left. I think they "broke" a number of bulldozers trying to excavate places to plant in....this place is built on rock....and the "meadow" is a large grassy area in front and grassy area in back over septic. The previous owners did not put sod down or attempt to grow lawn grass from what I can tell. There are sadly native sedges, wildflowers and probably grasses trying to exist in with the more invasive species. I am trying to remove some of the more aggressive grasses in certain areas to give the sedges a chance to expand but I am sorely ignorant in the area of grass ID. I think I'm confusing the D. glomerata with Echinochola crus-galli because I see now a difference in root colour...D. glomerata is all white whereas Echinochola crus-galli seems to have red and white roots....so there is little D. glomerata and lots of Echinochola crus-galli (I think Smiling ).
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Nov 28, 2016 11:13 AM CST
Around here if you clear an area and do not plant anything, common Bermuda grass tends to cover the ground. I don't know where it comes from, but your grasses may be the local equivalent.
Porkpal
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Nov 28, 2016 11:48 AM CST
upat5 said: I think I'm confusing the D. glomerata with Echinochola crus-galli because I see now a difference in root colour...D. glomerata is all white whereas Echinochola crus-galli seems to have red and white roots....so there is little D. glomerata and lots of Echinochola crus-galli (I think Smiling ).


The easiest difference between the two is the ligule, absent in Echinochloa crus-galli and long, membranous and sometimes pointy in Dactylis glomerata. Also E. crus-galli is an annual grass while the other is perennial. Emerging leaves are rolled in E. crus-galli whereas they are folded in the Dactylis.

Is there any chance you can post a sharp enough picture of the leaf sheaths with the leaves pulled down out of the way?



upat5
Nov 29, 2016 8:44 PM CST
Sue, my untrained eye does not see ligules in either of these grasses....I tried to take good pics...not sure that this is what you're asking for but here are the pics....one of the grasses has a somewhat "pinched" sheath because the blades are flattened not rounded as are most of the grasses with which I am somewhat familiar. The other grass is rounded as it protrudes from the sheath but I don't see a ligule.
Thumb of 2016-11-30/upat5/d40ad2


Thumb of 2016-11-30/upat5/6a75c9


upat5
Nov 30, 2016 10:38 AM CST
I found a seed head of the grass with the flattened stem....does this help w/ ID? The clump of grass had about 3 seedhead stalks and each of these stalks seemed to have a main seedhead with a secondary seedhead branched off further down the stalk.

Thumb of 2016-11-30/upat5/ac135c

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Nov 30, 2016 11:16 AM CST
That seed head does look like orchard grass. Is that also the second picture in the post above? Orchard grass can have a ligule that looks like a point, which may be what is in that picture but it's not quite clear enough to be sure. There does look to be something there anyway. The other one does look like it could be barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) based on the picture of the sheath. Any chance you could find a seed head on that one too?

upat5
Nov 30, 2016 12:10 PM CST
I will look for a seedhead for the second grass. Yes, the seedhead pic goes with the grass shown in the second pic. What puzzles me is that in the close-ups I see of D. glomerata it looks to me as if the stalk coming out of the sheath is quite round whereas the one I'm looking at is like a piece of paper coming out of an envelope....completely flattened. I was looking at this page....

http://www.illinoiswildflowers...

Why are my stalks so different?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Nov 30, 2016 12:44 PM CST
The new leaves emerging should be flattened, as in the picture here:

http://purdueturftips.blogspot...

Are you looking at the new emerging leaves or the flower stalks?

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