Paiute Orchardgrass

  • Excellent for forage production on semi arid lands
  • Widely used across the USA
  • More drought tolerant than other varieties
  • Well adapted to dryland pasture mixes
  • An ‘old’ and trusted variety, widely used

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

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Orchardgrass Distribution Area
Orchardgrass Distribution Area

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Paiute Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) is a cool season bunchgrass that is high producing forage grass suited to wide range of climates and soil conditions. Preferred in a dryland situation. Adapted and recovers well for both cutting a pasture. Useful for range, reclamation, roadways and logging disturbances. It is highly palatable.

Paiute Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) was cooperatively released by the U.S. Forest Service and Aberdeen Plant Materials Center in 1983. The source germplasm for Paiute was a collection from Turkey. It is a cultivar that produces an abundance of basal leaves and leafy upright stems. Its intended use is for forage production on semi arid lands. Paiute was developed as a more drought tolerant or dryland orchardgrass cultivar and requires 11-13 inches of annual precipitation. Most other varieties require 16 inches.

Orchardgrass is a high producing forage grass suited to a wide range of climates and soil conditions. It is a cool season bunchgrass and is widely distributed in the United States and throughout the world. It is one of the most important and widely used forage grasses.

Paiute Orchardgrass is dapted to many soil textures but does best on deep, well-drained medium textured soils. It performs satisfactorily on coarse and fine textured soils. It has low to moderate tolerance to acid and alkali. It does not grow well on saline sites, but will do well in moist but not flooded areas. It is widely adapted to farm and pasture lands across the united states. It is very desirable for pasture, range and wildlife habitat. Paiute generally grows to a height of 15 to 18 inches with leaves between 12 and 14 inches in arid or dryland situations. When under irrigation it will produce taller stands. Once Paiute Orchardgrass is established in can persist in precipitation as low as 8-10 inches.  It has been found to establish and persist at high elevations for up to 20 years under arid conditions in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Idaho.

Paiute Orchardgrass is a preferred dryland orchardgerass or arid variety well adapted to dryland pasture mixes or monocultures in areas of 10-12 inches annual precipitation. It is an excellent forage grass that is highly palatable. It is adapted well to both cutting and pasture and recovers well after both. Its drought tolerant characteristics make it mature early. It matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa.

For range and reclamation, Paiute Orchardgrass is particularly important for increasing diversity to the sagebrush-bunchgrass and pinyon-juniper communities. Paiute is also useful for planting roadways and logging disturbances. It can be planted on both exposed and shaded disturbances associated with mining.

Parent material of Paiute was introduced into the United States in 1934 from Ankara, Turkey. Paiute Orchardgrass was released in 1983 by the Forest Service Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and Utah Agricultural Experiment Stations. Orchardgrass has been grown in North America since the 1750’s.

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


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

(Dactylis glomerata)

‘Paiute’ Orchardgrass NRCS Plant Release

PDF version of Release Brochure

Citation: USDA-Natural Resources Conservation
Service, Aberdeen Plant Materials Center. Aberdeen, Idaho 83210. Published December, 2012

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(Dactylis glomerata)

‘Paiute’ Orchardgrass NRCS Plant Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By & Species Coordinator:
USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

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(Dactylis glomerata)

‘Paiute’ Orchardgrass Rangeland Article

PDF version of 'Paiute' Orchardgrass—Forage Species for Semiarid Range and Wild land Sites

Prepared By: Stephen B. Monsen and Richard Stevens (Rangelands 7(3), June 1985)

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(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

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(Dactylis glomerata)

Orchardgrass Variety Trial 2005

Research in the Klamath Basin

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

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(Dactylis glomerata)

Orchardgrass Hay Production Guide for the Columbia Basin of Washington

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

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(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

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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.

  • Paiute Orchardgrass
  • Dactylis glomerata

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Paiute Orchardgrass

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