- Agriculture, Forestry & Soils
- Field crops, grasses, plant fibers, spices, tree crops, herbs
- Dallis grass
Sprague, Howard B. Agricultural Consultant, Washington, DC.
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A general term for a genus of tall forage grasses, of which the most important species is the deeply rooted perennial Paspalum dilatatum. Dallis grass (see illustration) is widely grown in the southern United States, mostly for pasture, and remains productive indefinitely if it is well managed. Dallis grass does best on fertile soils and responds to lime and fertilizer. On heavier soils, it remains green throughout the winter unless checked by heavy frosts. Seed production is hampered by fungal infection with ergot, which invades developing seeds and produces purplish-black horny bodies. Ergot-bearing seed heads are very toxic to livestock, whether in pasture or in hay, and Dallis grass must be managed effectively to prevent consumption of infected heads by livestock. See also: Ergot and ergotism; Fertilizer; Forage crops; Grass crops; Plant pathology; Poales; Seed
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