Inavale is a medium-late maturing leafy orchardgrass with strong disease resistance. Its summer heat tolerance makes it a great choice for grazing or hay. This orchardgrass was screened heavily in northern Kentucky and also looked strong in our Lancaster plots.
Inavale exhibits exceptional seedling vigor and establishes rapidly. In the transition zone, planting should occur in the late summer. Prior to planting, take a soil test and apply adequate phosphorous and potassium if necessary. At planting, apply 35-40 lbs/acre nitrogen to ensure good establishment. Inavale may be established via full cultivation, no-till, or broadcast seeding with cultipacking. Plant no deeper than 1/4 inch below the surface in a firm seed bed.
Orchardgrass is categorized as a bunch grass. Careful stand management during the first year is essential for long-term productivity. Orchardgrass grows and spreads laterally by creating new shoots called tillers which emanate from the base of the plant, forming an ever-wider bunch. To enable the production of a leafy dense stand, the height of the stand during the first year should ideally be maintained in the 4-12 inch range. This allows full sunlight penetration to the plant base, which triggers production of the tillers needed for maximum plant growth and spread. Once the seedlings are firmly rooted, graze lightly by calves, or machine mow several times before heavy use. This will promote further tillering and growth. Cold winter survival is enhanced by entering winter with the grass left at a short but still green 4-5 inch height.