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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Evaluation of Wild Ryes for Wildlife, Soil Conservation, and Livestock Use
Year: 2005
Author(s): Shelton, V. R., Montgomery, B.
Source Title: Proceedings of the 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 141-143
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus) and riverbank wild rye (Elymus riparius) plantings were evaluated for suitability for wildlife habitat, conservation cover, and possibly livestock forage. Both Elymus virginicus and Elymus riparius have benefits for conservation use, greening up early and providing good cover. Being cool-season, it also has a fall flush. Both species have a fair to good filtering capacity compared to tall fescue. E. virginicus has the most biomass and provides better cover for conservation uses. E. riparius is better suited for shaded areas and might actually be the best for wildlife in some situations because of the extra structure and increased openness. E. riparius planted in the open at the same rate as E. virginicus produces a more open and still yet bunchy pattern. This character lends itself well to interseeding of forbs. Established stands average 2.5 plants per square foot. This planting of E. virginicus was no-till drilled at 4 pounds per acre and averaged 36 to 60 inches in height. Winter structure as shown in the picture at the right is very impressive. Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus), a cool-season native grass, is traditionally considered a woodland species. E. virginicus tolerates both moist and dry conditions and is adapted for shady locations or full sun. The species responds quite differently depending on location.
Publisher: The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, Lexington, Kentucky
Editor(s): T. G. Barnes