So many in the industry talk about warm season native grasses. They are becoming more commonly used by habitat managers to create bedding cover and to direct deer movement. The one area I never see anyone discuss is the use of cool season grasses in your wildlife program. Some examples of cool season grasses are perennial ryegrass, timothy, orchardgrass, tall fescue, meadow fescue, bromegrass, and festuolium. There is a time and place for these.
We commonly see some of these grasses uses in NRCS firebreak mixes. We normally see 2 or 3 of these uses in conjunction with 2 perennial clovers. Another area I’d like you guys to consider use of these is in your apple orchards and other fruit tree areas. These tolerate shade, give ground cover and can also allow browse when there is not much else palatable for deer to eat.
Cool season grasses grow fast and can also provide a short grass screening option. It can block glassing by deer and of deer. These cool season grasses can get to be about 3 feet tall and in some cases 4 feet tall. A deer is not that tall, and this can be an inexpensive fast-growing alternative to warm season grasses. You can frost seed or over seed over the soil without having to work the ground in many cases.
Depending on blend, you typically are looking at using 12-25 pounds per acre of cool season grasses. If one has a very clear woods area that you want to create some cover, this is an inexpensive option to try. In 60-90 days you will have complete establishment.