What I Learned About Cool-Season Grasses


Below you will find a large photo of grasses we were asked to identify during a Cool-Season Grass Workshop held just before the American Forage & Grassland Council national tour this past May.

I learned there were very subtle differences in various grasses' appearance, some requiring magnifying glasses and the right stage of growth. The whole process of identifying the grasses required a biology short-course that, thankfully, was provided. Armed with magnifying glasses and grass-ID handbooks, we pinpointed the following grasses, among others: 

Annual ryegrass


Perennial ryegrass


Can you tell which grass is which in the photo below?

Probably not. It was difficult enough to identify differences by handling the grasses. But, just for kicks, see how you do. Here are a couple of hints:

To tell the difference between annual and perennial ryegrass, know that annual ryegrass leaves are rolled at the bud. The perennial's leaves are usually folded. One of the other four grassess, however, also shows rolled leaves at the bud – orchardgrass. And fescue exhibits veins that the others don't. 

Does that help? To learn which is which, visit here.

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