- Agriculture, Forestry & Soils
- Field crops, grasses, plant fibers, spices, tree crops, herbs
Sprague, Howard B. Agricultural Consultant, Washington, DC.
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A common name designating a number of forage grasses of the genus Bromus in the order Poales (Cyperales) found in the North Temperate Zone. Bromegrasses produce a highly palatable and nutritious forage. Among the various bromegrasses, smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis) [see illustration] is the most important. This species was introduced to the United States during the 1880s from central Europe and Russia, where it is native. It proved to be well adapted to regions of cold winters and limited rainfall. Although first widely used in the eastern Great Plains and western Corn Belt regions, improved strains are now grown extensively for hay and rotation pastures located north of the Mason–Dixon line, from the Plains to the Atlantic. Smooth bromegrass is a long-lived perennial, spreads by underground creeping stems, and is fairly deep rooted and drought-tolerant. Top growth is 0.6–1.2 m (2–4 ft) in height and is used for hay or pasture. Regional strains are available for Canada and the northern two-thirds of the United States. Bromegrass tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but responds well to higher levels of fertility. Under conditions of adequate moisture supply, smooth bromegrass grows well in mixtures with alfalfa and red clover. The seeds of bromegrass are large, light, and chaffy, and successful planting requires special seeders. See also: Alfalfa; Clover; Cyperales; Forage crops; Grass crops; Poales
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