Scientific Name: Dactylis glomerata

Common Name: orchardgrass

Other Common Names: cocksfoot, orchardgrass

Habit: A clump-forming perennial grass common to pastures and often used as forage. Orchardgrass can be a big problem in tall fescue lawns of residential areas established on existing pasture. In addition, orchard grass seed are grown for commercial forage production and often are found as a contaminate in turf-type tall fescue seed due to similar size and shape. Plants can grow to 2 to 4 ft tall but also tolerate mowing at typical lawn heights.

Leaves: Leaves are light green, folded into a V-shape at the base, have a prominent midrib along the underside, and margins that are rough to the touch. The ligule is a tall jagged membrane and plants lack auricles. Leaves are 10 to 13 inches long and 2 to 10 mm wide.

Identifying Characteristics: Leaves folded in the bud and ligule is tall, pointed and often jagged across the top. The seedhead is a panicle that is densely clustered with fan-shaped spikelets.

Flower Seed Head: Seedhead often borne on tall slender stalk to waist high and consist of a densely clustered panicle with fan-shaped green spikelets. Flowers late spring into early summer.

Seed Fruit: Seed are similar in size and shape to tall fescue. Seed are flat, narrow and may have awns up to 2 mm long.

Where Found: Found in pastures, ditches or any open disturbed site. A serious weed problem in tall fescue lawns.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: folded in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: more than 3 mm

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: less than 5 mm; 6 to 15 mm

  • Grass stem: flat or oval