Orchardgrass

Description

Orchardgrass is a common perennial weed of turf, and can be a contaminant in commercial tall fescue seed. The leaves are a characteristic blue-green color, and the seedhead is easy to distinguish from other grasses. In addition, there is a prominent midvein on the underside of the leaves, and the ligule is membranous.

Cultural Control

Perennial grass weeds are not desirable as turfgrass species under any conditions. Therefore, every effort should be made to prevent these weedy grasses from becoming established in turf, as selective control measures are usually difficult. Selection of adapted turfgrass species and cultivars and the use of cultural practices are important in minimizing weedy grass encroachment and competition. Management practices include: (1) mowing at the recommended height for the selected turfgrass and removing clippings when seedheads of grassy weeds are present; (2) applying the proper amount of nitrogen at the correct time according to the turfgrass present; and (3) using soil tests to determine needed nutrients and lime.

Species Data

  • SEEDHEAD / FLOWER
  • VERNATION TYPE
  • LIGULE TYPE
  • GROWTH SEASON / LIFE CYCLE
    • perennial weed
  • AURICLE TYPE
    • absent
  • LEAF BLADE TIP SHAPE
    • sharp-pointed; V-shaped in cross section at base, sharply creased below, deep furrow over midrib, edges rough; lower surface dull, not glossy
      Figure 12, Figure 13
  • LEAF BLADE WIDTH
    • 0.24 - 0.47 inches (6 - 12 mm) wide
  • STOLON PRESENCE
    • absent
  • RHIZOME PRESENCE
    • absent
  • COLLAR TYPE
  • SHEATH MARGIN
    • mostly open part way
  • SHEATH TYPE
    • flattened; sheath is smooth to somewhat rough; distinctly flattened
Orchardgrass seedheadFigure 1. Orchardgrass seedhead.Orchardgrass seedheadFigure 2. Orchardgrass seedhead.Orchardgrass seedheadFigure 3. Orchardgrass seedhead.Orchardgrass seedheadFigure 4. Orchardgrass seedhead.Orchardgrass seedheadFigure 5. Orchardgrass seedhead.Orchardgrass seedheadFigure 6. Orchardgrass seedhead.Orchardgrass vernationFigure 7. Orchardgrass vernation.Orchardgrass liguleFigure 8. Orchardgrass ligule.Orchardgrass liguleFigure 9. Orchardgrass ligule.Orchardgrass liguleFigure 10. Orchardgrass ligule.Orchardgrass liguleFigure 11. Orchardgrass ligule.Orchardgrass leaf blade tipFigure 12. Orchardgrass leaf blade tip.Orchardgrass leaf blade tipFigure 13. Orchardgrass leaf blade tip.Orchardgrass collarFigure 14. Orchardgrass collar.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Charles PeacockDr. Charles PeacockProfessor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist (919) 515-7615 charles_peacock@ncsu.eduCrop and Soil Sciences - NC State University
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This Extension factsheet can also be viewed at:
https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/orchardgrass