Timothy Grass

  • Excellent forage value
  • Makes excellent hay when combined with alfalfa
  • Makes premium feed for horses
  • Commonly found along canals, roadsides and ditches
  • Very winter-hardy

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

SKU PHPR Categories ,

Map of Timothy Distribution Area
Timothy Distribution Area

Min. to Max. Annual Precipitation


Average Max. Height

Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense) is a relatively short-lived bunchgrass that has excellent forage value. It is commonly found volunteering in canals and roadside ditches. Makes excellent hay, especially when combined with alfalfa. This species is preferred by cattle, sheep, and horses. Very winter hardy and recommended sites include cool, moist meadows and open forests.

Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense) is an introduced bunchgrass of excellent forage value. It is widely used and adapted, found growing in waterways, dry to wet meadows and other mesic environments. It is commonly found volunteering in canals and roadside borrow ditches.  It makes excellent hay, especially when combined with Alfalfa. It is distributed throughout the entire United States; however, it grows best in the northern half of the nation and along mountain chains further south. Agricultural use of timothy occurs primarily in the Northwest, upper Midwest, and Northeast.

Timothy is relatively short-lived. It is adapted to irrigation and areas with effective annual precipitation of at least 18 in. It grows in stools or clumps with a shallow, compact, and fibrous root system. This species is preferred by cattle and horses, and timothy hay is a premium feed for horses. Sheep utilize timothy during the summer in mountainous areas. Timothy is used for pasture and silage, but mostly for hay. It is palatable and nutritious. It makes a first rate companion grass with alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, or clover species as it is one of the grasses least competitive with legumes.

Timothy prefers finer textured soils, such as clays to clay loams to loams and is adapted to soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. It is very winter-hardy and exhibits tolerance to both cold temperature and ice encasement. It is not well adapted to wet, flat land where water stands for extended periods of time, though it can withstand somewhat poorly-drained soils. It does not tolerate drought or prolonged high temperatures and it does not tolerate alkaline conditions. Recommended sites include cool, moist meadows and open forests. It invades wet areas along ditches, canals, drains, and streams and can be a weed in these areas.

Timothy hay is a premium feed for horses and is compatible in legume mixes. Severe damage can result from early grazing under wet conditions. It regrows very slowly following grazing or haying.

Timothy can be used with legumes and/or other grasses in seed mixtures for cover, filter strips, herbaceous buffers, waterways, and other critical area applications. It can also be used for erosion control on cut- or burned-over forestland. This is a shallow-rooted and thus should not be considered the primary species for erosion control plantings. It is commonly found in wildlife seed mixtures for nesting, brood rearing, and escape cover.

This species is sometimes confused with meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) and creeping foxtail (A. arundinaceus). Meadow and creeping foxtail have short twisted awns giving the inflorescence a somewhat fuzzy appearance. Timothy is awnless. Additionally, cured seed heads of creeping foxtail have a dark to somewhat black appearance, while cured seed heads of timothy are tan to buff colored.

Recommended Seeding Rate: 8-10 lbs. per acre.

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

(Phleum pratense)

Timothy NRCS Plant Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By Species Coordinator Tony Bush
USDA NRCS Rose Lake Plant Materials Center
East Lansing, Michigan

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.

  • Timothy
  • Phleum pratense
  • Meadow Cat’s-Tail
  • Common Cat’s Tail

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Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:


Scientific Name:



Plant Type:

pH Tolerance:

Seed Count

1,300,000 per lb.

Growth Height:

Root Form:

Sowing Rate:

8-10 lbs. per acre

Min. Precipitation

16 Inches Minimum

Best SowingTime:

Spring or Fall

Max Sowing Depth:

Growth Season:

Sun & Shade Tolerance:


Hardiness Zones:

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