Smooth-stalked meadow-grass is a perennial grass of short to medium height. It is deep rooted and creeps extensively through the soil with a network of creeping rhizomes. Its flat green, often greyish green leaves grow in short tufts or knit together to form a turf. Its flowering stems may reach 60-80cm with open branched heads. It is a very variable grass with many genetic forms.
Smooth-stalked meadow-grass is a wide-ranging grass, common in old meadows, pastures, and other grassy habitat such as verges and waste ground. It thrives best on well-drained, well-structured soils of open texture where its rhizomes can readily develop, it attains its maximum potential on neutral soils of moderate to high fertility. Its numerous strong-growing rhizomes enable it to withstand drought heat and cold stress. It is also very tolerant of grazing and trampling so persists well in paths and heavily grazed pasture.
Smooth-stalked meadow-grass can be sown at any time of year when conditions are suitable. In its first growing season, it is slow to develop and provide ground cover, forming small tufts only. For this reason, it is always sown as part of a mix with other species providing supporting cover. In its second and subsequent years, it expands by growth of its rhizomes to achieve maximum ground cover by year three.
Once established in mixed grassland it grows out down at the base of the sward as a ‘bottom grass’, creeping to colonise any gaps. It is a tenacious persistent grass but only rarely if ever becomes dominant component of a sward. Its stress tolerant nature combined with deep-rooted rhizome network can be useful for reinforcement of swards on embankments and pathways. It is a component of our amenity grass mix EG22.
Both its leaves and stems of Smooth-stalked meadow-grass are highly palatable to livestock. Its steady growth rate throughout the year make it more useful as a pasture grass for grazing than for summer hay production.