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Good summer grass for VA?

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  • Good summer grass for VA?

    What is a good heat tolerant pasture grass to plant in SE VA? I have pastures with orchard, endophyte-free fescue and white clover that is not doing well in the heat. Thanks!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

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  • #2
    with this heat and dry weather you can't expect much else. Some of the native grasses do a little better with the weather and can green up with a good rain. Not sure there's seed for it though. I have a lot of native (what I call wiregrass) that resembles bermuda. Spreads with underground rhizomes and there's not much that can kill it. So I just let it spread and haven't had to feed hay to my horses since spring. Good luck.
    In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.—Thomas Sowell, Is Thinking Obsolete?

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    • #3
      Bermuda thrives in our area and is a wonderful summer grass.
      www.signaturesporthorses.com

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      • #4
        We are on coastal VA and our pastures are perennial fescue, rye and orchard with one field also having Bermuda we planted last year as a "test" pasture. Our fields are still very green despite the heat/drought conditions. We did fertilize all of the pastures in spring and I think it has helped as most people in our area have no pasture left and we are holding our own. VA Cooperative Extension has many articles (do an online search) on pasture grasses, management etc. An agent recommended to us last year to consider planting crabgrass as it it extremely drought resistant, palatable and tolerates high traffic and grazing (we didn't try it though).
        Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement
        http://www.horseretirementfarm.com

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        • #5
          I'm north of Richmond and am completely with you and will be watching this tread for good ideas. We're feeding hay in fields that supported horses throughout the summer in the past.

          As a way to have better summer grazing, I've twice tried to seed Bermuda into separate fields that had been prepared with roundup, with 2 different supposed professionals doing the seeding. Neither grew at all and now are just weeds. So annoying to think that at least before there were some various grasses there.

          I've read about crab grass but seed seems to be difficult to acquire.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Schiffon View Post

            I've read about crab grass but seed seems to be difficult to acquire.
            HAHA My mother says I can have all I want, it takes over her flower beds every year!! In all seriousness though, I know it does grow wild and NOTHING seems to kill it. Good Suggestion! Thank you Lord, we FINALLY got a nice long downpour here in Chesapeake! (guess I won't bother taking the clothes off the line now!)
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Schiffon View Post

              I've read about crab grass but seed seems to be difficult to acquire.
              Google Red River Crabgrass Oklahoma and several suppliers pop up. Estel Seeds is one that I know is good to work with but I just found that their website wouldn't come up. Just place an order over the phone and it ships pretty fast.

              Bermuda should do really well in SE VA and is drought tolerant and grazing tolerant.
              "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

              Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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              • #8
                I'm in Suffolk. All of our Coastal Bermuda is doing great but the Fescue and Orchard Grass is dormant or dead by now. There are a few varieties of Tall Bermuda that you can sow by seed...Cheyenne is one variety I put out some years ago.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                  I'm in Suffolk. All of our Coastal Bermuda is doing great but the Fescue and Orchard Grass is dormant or dead by now. There are a few varieties of Tall Bermuda that you can sow by seed...Cheyenne is one variety I put out some years ago.
                  I'm afraid coastal bermuda might not tolerate our winters north of Richmond but Cheyenne is supposed to. It is one of the varieties we tried.

                  Any hints on getting Cheyenne established, DDB?

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                  • #10
                    If you want to do BErmuda grass, you REALLY need to sprig it, not seed it. We sprigged our 20 acres three years ago and it does great in the heat. It is ONLY a hot weather grass, whereas orchard, fescue, rye are cool weather grasses. So what we do is overseed our fieelds with rye in the fall and then again in early spring.
                    www.shawneeacres.net

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                    • #11
                      Shawnee...not all varieties need to be sprigged. Some, like Cheyenne, do come up from seed.

                      Shiffon...I overseeded existing pasture with it instead of killing all the grass and starting from scratch...I mowed what was there short and then seeded. Over time, the Bermuda in that field has thickened and gotten better. I put it out in late April and left the field sit all summer until it was well established. I think it's important to put it in when the nights are warm enough, there is enough moisture, and then give it time.

                      I **think** you might be far enough south but you'd have to check the growing zone map to be sure. I thought I'd read that it was hardy up through central VA but I may be wrong. With all this record cold then record hot weather, there's no telling what to expect anymore!

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                      • #12
                        I think Shawnee means that although you can establish bermuda by seed, you tend to get better results via sprigging. Sprigging is more expensive but it's usually done earlier in the year, giving the grass time to get somewhat established before the weed pressure ramps up. Also, there are pre-emergent herbicides available to help with weeds when sprigging but none available that can be used when seeding.

                        There are quite a few varieties of seeded bermuda these days. Just avoid any mixes that have Giant bermuda in them (won't persist) and Wrangler generally is not very cold hardy. Cheyenne can be hard to come by - they've had supply issues for the past several years - but tends to do fairly well.
                        "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                        Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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                        • #13
                          I agree with the others that Bermuda is the way to go. I am not far from Daydream Believer actually and it thrives here. It has a shorter growing season (May to Sept mainly) but it really thrives in HOT and DRY climates. It begins growing when the soil reaches 65 degrees and goes dormant after the first frost. It also is great at providing thatch to hold the soil in areas that want to get muddy.

                          I will probably repeat some of what has been said but here is my knowledge. We have fescue(endophite free)/orchard/clover for spring/fall grazing and Bermuda for the summer. It does work very well. You can overseed the Bermuda during the SECOND winter with rye, and also put clover down in it to give some cooler weather grazing before it gets kicked off as temps warm. You need to fertilize often - we do 3 times a year - and also use a broadleaf herbacide like 2-4-D to get rid of the weeds. But, be careful because this will stunt the clover. You must maintain it like this if you want it to look like a picture book . People think good pasture is cheap grazing but not so!! Not sure how hay farmers make any money to be honest, with all that goes into it.

                          Bermuda can be tricky to plant but once established it grows like nuts and you can't kill it pretty much. You are right to kill the existing growth with Roundup or Eraser or something that kills EVERYTHING. Wait at least 2 weeks to till. I think Bermuda planting is ideal May 1 thru June 15 at the latest. Do a soil test - CRITICAL, it will not grow if the soil chemistry is not favorable - and put down lime as needed after everything has died. Then till up the soil, tilling in the lime, but then afterwards you want to have it cultipacked until it is only about 1/4" deep (so your shoe print is visible but you are not sinking), so it is planted at about 1/8". If you plant it too deep, it will not come up. I believe Bermuda requires a special seeder which we rented from our local farm store (not a broadcast seeder). Then right after seeding, put down a fertilizer as necessary according to soil test. Then pray for rain Our most recent field took about 10 days to germinate using these exact steps. It was planted June 5 and now is about 10" tall and lush, and could be grazed lightly. It says 8-10 weeks from planting until grazing...It is awesome how fast it becomes grazable!!! We have not used sprigging and we have 3 very lush Bermuda pastures that were quick to come up and healthy done this way.

                          Also, use a pasture-specific Bermuda grass made for forage. It will grow tall. Yard/lawn bermuda is meant to stay short for less mowing and will not provide adequate grazing. It is not cheap, we used Ranchero Frio (which I think is a blend), about $179 per 25lb bag at my local store, but we only needed 2 bags for about 3.5 acres. The rate is about 10-15lb per acre, of course plant more if you want it more lush initially, but it will fill in over time. I think we picked this because of advertised cold tolerance.

                          http://www.seedland.com/mm5/merchant...Category_Code=

                          Hope this helps!!
                          Signature Sporthorses
                          www.signaturesporthorses.com

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                            If you want to do BErmuda grass, you REALLY need to sprig it, not seed it. .
                            Forgive my ignorance but I don't know what you mean by sprigging. Is that when you plant clumps if it and then it spreads? Thanks!
                            http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

                            http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              The rancho frio sounds like a winner, but if I am overseeding orchard, fescue and clover do I really need that much seed? Also I guess I will have to broadcast since I have established pasture??
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                              http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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                              • #16
                                Area farmers swear by Pearl Millet. Hardy and doesn't take much moisture.
                                Speak kind words,receive kind echos

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
                                  Forgive my ignorance but I don't know what you mean by sprigging. Is that when you plant clumps if it and then it spreads? Thanks!
                                  Pretty much. It's sprigs of bermuda that have been dug from another field in the early spring. They are usually disked into a clean field and then the sprigs break from dormancy and start to spread runners.
                                  "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                  Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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                                  • #18
                                    I'm in coastal Va also with heavy clay soil. I have a mixture of fescue, bermuda,crabgrass, and local weed grasses. Also others have had luck with bermuda coming in early mine has just started to look good. Seems that the crabgrass is the winner this time of year for us. I'm on small acres so don't have large equipment to do a lot of pasture management. Lime seems to be something I need all the time, and I do what I can with my push spreader, but it's never enough.

                                    Fall I put out Fescue and Rye, Spring I spread beruma. All from seed and it seems to do well enough.

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