The Grass Guide: Smooth Bromegrass

Smooth bromegrass is a common pasture and hay grass in the northern United States and Canada.
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The Grass Guide: Smooth Bromegrass
Smooth bromegrass is a common pasture and hay grass in the northern United States and Canada. | Photo Credit: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture
Name: Smooth Bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.)
Life Cycle:  Cool-season perennial
Native to: Central and Northern Europe and temperate Asia, extending to China
Uses: Hay, pasture, and soil erosion prevention
Identification: “W” on upper leaf

Smooth bromegrass is a common pasture and hay grass in the northern United States and Canada, but not in the southeastern United States, as it does not tolerate extended periods of high humidity. It grows well on many soil types and tolerates drought and temperature extremes. It is nutritious and palatable to horses, but does not tolerate close and frequent grazing; therefore, it is frequently found along fencerows of horse pastures.

When managing smooth bromegrass pastures or hayfields, allow a rest period after grazing or harvesting for long-term stand survival. One of bromegrass’ advantages over other cool-season grasses is that it holds forage quality well as it matures, making it a nutritious hay for horses. Unlike most cool-season grasses, smooth bromegrass will produce seedheads after subsequent cuttings.

Information in the Grass Guides found primarily in “Identification and Adaptation” by Ozzie Abaye. To purchase, visit uky.edu/ag/forages

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