Elymus virginicus var glabriflorus, also known as Southeastern wild rye, is a native cool season perennial grass. It is clump forming and can grow to about 4 feet tall.
Southeastern wildrye seed germinates quickly and retains high percentages of seed viability, making it useful for roadsides, stabilization of slopes and other highly erodible areas. It does particularly well in restoration projects aiming to preserve water quality since it requires no fertilizer use. It is also compatible with native warm season grasses and wildflowers in diversity plantings and can also be used as a cover crop that provides winter soil coverage when many other plants are dormant.
Southeastern wild rye is a good choice for native cool-season forage. Additionally, hay yields of more than 3 tons/acre can be achieved. Rotational grazing is recommended. A must have for year-round grazing programs! If haying, harvest prior to seed head formation to capture highest nutritional quality. Summer heat tend to put the plant into dormancy, so expect one cutting of hay.
A variety of beetles and butterfly larvae feed on wild rye, and spiders often create webs among the spiky seed heads. Some birds consume wildrye seed. As the plant matures and falls over, ground-nesting birds such as bobwhite quail are able to take advantage of the ideal habitat that is created.
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