How to Grow Orchard Grass


Orchard grass (dactylis glomerata L.) is a cool-season grass used mostly as a feed for livestock. This tall, nitrogen-rich grass is not a native to the United States but was brought here from Europe in the late 1700s. It grows well under trees, giving it the name orchard grass, and often is used in pastures. With plenty of water and an early spring or late summer planting, orchard grass is popular to grow because of its hardy nature.

Step 1

Prepare the soil for planting. Apply lime 1 inch deep to the soil and till. Add a starter fertilizer to the soil according to the package directions, raking into the dirt after application.

Step 2

Apply the grass seed at a rate of 8 to 12 lbs. per acre of land. Spread only orchard grass seed without other varieties mixed into the seed. Spread the seed with a grain drill for large planting areas. Establish the seed 1/4 to 1/2 inches below the soil for optimal growth potential. Roll the soil with a lawn roller to press the seed into the soil and to gently firm the soil.

Step 3

Water until the soil is moist. Rainfall, if adequate, will maintain the moisture in the grass. Water the seeds by irrigation, if necessary, or with a garden hose when the planting area is smaller.

Step 4

Harvest the area in the spring, cutting the grass to 5 inches for best growth rates. Cutting spurs another growth cycle and will produce more grass. Harvest the grass every six weeks for optimal performance.

Things You'll Need

  • Tractor tiller
  • Lime
  • Fertilizer
  • Grain drill
  • Lawn roller
  • Harvester


  • Farm Info: Growing Orchardgrass
  • University of Missouri: Orchardgrass
  • University of Tennessee: Tall Fescue, Orchardgrass and Timothy
Keywords: orchardgrass, orchard grass, planting