Blizzard Orchardgrass

  • Superior winter survival
  • Improved stand persistence
  • Stem rust resistant
  • Great forage yield potential
  • Excellent seedling and plant vigor
  • Widely adapted

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.

Map of Blizzard Orchardgrass Distribution Area
Blizzard Orchardgrass Distribution Area

Min. to Max. Annual Precipitation


Average Max. Height

Blizzard Orchardgrass is a medium-late maturing orchardgrass that has high forage yield and a winter survival rate that is superior to other varieties. Best to establish in either early spring or late summer. Used for grazing, hay production, pasture or silage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. Also provides good erosion control.

Blizzard Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) is a medium-late maturing orchardgrass variety.  You can find it widely adapted throughout United States and Canada. A nursery in Neapolis, Alberta Canada developed this variety from plants selected from a three year old winter survival. It is similar in plant structure and color to Benchmark Plus and Haymaster. Blizzard is similar in winter survival ratings to Kay and Killarney.

When we compare varieties for winter survival Blizzard is superior. Furthermore, this orchardgrass has high forage yield potential and improved stem rust resistance. Whether used for grazing, hay production or in mixes, the agronomic advantages of Blizzard make this a highly desirable variety.

This variety is easy to establish in either early spring or late summer.  Be aware that of it’s mid-late maturity times. We recommend using a seeding rate of 8 to 12 lb per acre. If you are mixing legumes with your Orchardgrass the seeding rate should be reduced. Oftentimes when seeding orchardgrass with other grasses it will not do well because of differences in maturity and palatability.

Orchardgrass is used for grazing, hay, pasture or silage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. Blizzard Orchardgrass is one of the better forage varieties for use in pastures and in combination with alfalfa or Red Clover for hay.

Erosion control: Because of its dense network of roots, Orchardgrass provides good erosion control on those soils to which it is particularly adapted.

Wildlife: Orchardgrass is used in grass-legume mixes for nesting, broad rearing, escape and winter cover for upland game birds and conservation plantings.

Establishment of Blizzard Orchardgrass

You can easily establish this variety of orchardgrass with grain drills or by broadcasting seeding.

Seeding rate (drilled): is 8 to 12 pounds/acre.

We recommend a seeding rate of 3 to 4 pounds/acre for range and critical area treatment.

Seeding rate (broadcast): 16 to 24 pounds/acre.

Mixtures: When seeding in mixtures make adjustments in seeding rate.

Seeding depth: No more than 1⁄2 inch.

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) performs well on different textured soils. Blizzard establishes well on soils ranging from clay to gravely loams and on shallow to deep soils. However, it does not grow well in saline soils and areas with high water tables. It has the ability to establish and persist in areas that receive as little as 12 inches of annual precipitation. Lastly, Orchardgrass performs best in a pH range of 5.8-7.0.

PaiuteEarlyDrought tolerant. Common in dryland pastures, reclamation, erosion control.
HallmarkEarlyHigh Yielding
Benchmark PlusEarlyPersists under heavy use, superior forage. Superior for grazing.
PotomacEarly-MidExcellent early variety.
QuickdrawEarly-MidFast recover after cutting. Tolerates heat.
Pawnee OrchardgrassMidWidely adapted, drought and grazing tolerant.
Crown RoyalMid-LateFast recovery after cutting, tolerates heat.
ExtendMid-LateIdeal for alfalfa & clover mixes. Superior yield.
BlizzardLateSuperior winter survival. Widely adapted, excellent forage yield.
LatarLateNo longer available. See Extend, Quickdraw, Blizzard

*** Click on the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information. ***

(Dactylis glomerata)


Orchardgrass NRCS Plant Guide and Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By: Tony Bush USDA NRCS Rose Lake PMC East Lansing, Michigan
Dan Ogle USDA NRCS Idaho State Office Boise, Idaho
Loren St. John USDA NRCS Aberdeen PMC Aberdeen, Idaho
Mark Stannard USDA NRCS Pullman PMC Pullman, Washington
Dr. Kevin B. Jensen
USDA ARS Forage and Range Research Laboratory
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Species Coordinator: Mark Stannard USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center Pullman, Washington

Download PDF

(Dactylis glomerata)

Orchardgrass Variety Trial 2005

Research in the Klamath Basin

Prepared By: Richard J. Roseberg and Jim E. Smith

Download PDF

(Dactylis glomerata)

Orchardgrass Hay Production Guide for the Columbia Basin of Washington

Prepared By: John L Kugler, WSU Grant/Adams County Extension

Download PDF

(Dactylis glomerata)

Orchardgrass NRCS Plant Materials Technical Note

An introduced Conservation Grass for Use in Montana and Wyoming

Prepared By: Roger M. Hybner, Research Agronomist, NRCS, Plant Materials Center, Bridger, Montana
Susan Winslow, Agronomist, NRCS, Plant Materials Center, Bridger, Montana

Download PDF

Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Blizzard Orchardgrass
  • Dactylis glomerata

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Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Blizzard Orchardgrass

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