Pensacola Bahiagrass Can Be Used to Improve the Forage Resource when Regenerating Southern Pines
Many native forage plants in the South are low quality, poor producers, and unpalatable to cattle. Replacement of these plants with more desirable species would improve the forage resource. One approach is to seed grasses during site preparation when regenerating southern pines. Following site preparation by shearing and strip-disking, Pensacola bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) was seeded at 15 pounds per acre in the spring and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) was row-seeded on 12-foot centers in December of the next year. The bahiagrass became established among the residual native plants and was heavily utilized by cattle grazing yearlong. A light application of fertilizer after 3 years tripled bahiagrass yields the first year and doubled it the next year compared to unfertilized plots. Fertilizer improved some nutritional qualities of bahiagrass but digestibility was lowered. Longleaf pine seedlings came out of the grass stage more rapidly and were 50% taller at age 9 with grazing than without it; and in spite of heavier mortality with grazing (36% vs. 21%), stocking was 967 trees per acre at age 11.
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Document Type: Journal Article
Affiliations: Osceola National Forest, Lake City, FL 32055
Publication date: 01 November 1985