Potomac Orchardgrass

  • One of the most productive cool-season grasses!
  • Matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa for hay.
  • Highly palatable for all wildlife and livestock.
  • Primarily used for pasture and hay forage production

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

SKU DAGL-POT Categories ,


Potomac Orchardgrass (Dactilis glomerata) is a productive, persistent, rust-resistant cultivar that produces good yields but matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa for hay. When alfalfa is ready to cut, ‘Potomac’ is too mature to produce good quality hay. Potomac Orchard Grass is a bunch-type, tall-growing, cool-season perennial grass. It is one of the most productive cool-season grasses, tolerant to shade, fairly drought resistant with moderate winter hardiness. Potomac Orchardgrass (Dactilis glomerata) does not exhibit as much tolerance to drought or winter hardiness as tall fescue and bromegrass. It has been reported growing in the United States since before 1760.

Wildlife: Elk and deer find orchardgrass highly palatable and will utilize it most of the year. Orchardgrass is sometimes used in grass-legume mixes for nesting, brood rearing, escape, and winter cover in upland wildlife and conservation plantings. However, upland birds and waterfowl often prefer taller grasses that develop sparser stands such as basin wildrye and tall wheatgrass. In areas disturbed by fire where orchardgrass has been seeded in a mixture with other grasses and forbs, wildlife use increases. The caterpillars of the Many- Lined Wainscot moth (Leucania multilinea) and the Little Wood Satyr butterfly (Megisto cymela) feed on the foliage of the grass and seeds are eaten sparingly by some songbirds including the horned lark and chipping sparrow.

Manure and biosolids application: Orchardgrass can use high rates of Nitrogen (N) when grown on deep soils with adequate water supplies, making it valuable in nutrient recycling systems. It can be used in manure and biosolid applications to recycle large amounts of N (in excess of 300 pounds N/ac/yr) while simultaneously producing high quality forage.

When seeded in a monoculture, Potomac Orchardgrass often produces very high yields. This variety should be used where early maturity is needed and as a single species hay. This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed

The primary use of orchardgrass is for pasture and hay forage production. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. It is one of the best forage grasses for use in the Northern states under intensive rotational grazing systems. It is compatible with many legumes (alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, and various clovers) and with some grasses such as perennial ryegrass and tall fescue (Sullivan, 1992). The life cycles of orchardgrass and alfalfa match well.

Scientific name: Dactylis glomerata

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

Other Orchardgrass Cultivars:

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)

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.

  • Potomac Orchardgrass
  • Dactylis glomerata

Who is Great Basin Seed?

Great Basin Seed is a seed company that specializes in seed sales and consultation for home, ranch, farm, range and reclamation. We have been a leader in the seed industry since 1974.

Our History

We've been in the seed business since 1974.

What We Offer

We offer seed for home, farm, ranch, range and reclamation projects.

Meet the Gang

We have the best employees in the world! We are proud of the work they do, and trust them to serve you!

Right: Company founder Lloyd and his wife Paula Stevens in a wildflower seed production field circa 1977

Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Potomac Orchardgrass

Scientific Name:


Plant Type:

pH Tolerance:

Seed Count


Root Form


Sowing Rate

2-4 PLS lbs. per Acre

Min. Precipitation

16 Inches Minimum

Best Sowing Time

Fall or Spring

Max Sowing Depth:

Growth Season:

Sun & Shade Tolerance:

Part Shade

Elevation of Occurance:

Hardiness Zones:

, , , , , , ,

Customers Also Bought...