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Grasses for a hot climate

Mark Harris


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 73
Location: Portugal
Hi to you all

I am in central Portugal not far, from Mrs Maluca on this forum. Summer maximum temps during June- Sept period vary from around 24-42 degrees celsius. Imagine a climate very similar to Alabama but alot drier. What i want to know is what is the best perennial fast growing grass species to grow that can cope with the heat.

For complex reasons, what I want to do is grow grass in trays rather than on the ground. This is so I can move the trays into the cages of some grass munchers, allow them to eat most of the growth, and then the remove the trays to regrow over a few weeks. The grass munchers can't be kept outdoors directly on the turf.

Irrigation is not a problem, and I am imagining having to shade the trays somewhat to get maximum growth. The sky tends to be blue and cloudless, and the sun very strong during the summer.

Any ideas ? Some sort of rye grass ? The grass munchers love tender grass, rather than stemmy old growth.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Because they'll be in trays, you might consider raising young plants of nutritious non-grass species such as sunflowers or field peas, or grains such as corn, oats and cereal rye. I think it may be difficult to maintain perennial grasses in these trays because most perennial grasses have very large root systems.


Idle dreamer

Mark Harris


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 73
Location: Portugal
Thanks for the reply. Right now I sow wheat and they love that. After about 8-10 days there is a very lush growth of nutritious fodder. I have experiemented with maize (US = corn ?) and they were not keen on that. I will try oats and rye as an alternative and see how that goes. These grass munchers WILL NOT eat non grassy foods, so sunflowers etc are not suitable.

The problem with the wheat is that although growth is rapid it does not regrow well. So each try is used once, and then you have to re-sow. Very labour intensive, and seed intensive. Hence the desire to find a heat tolerant perennial alternative.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I'm curious to know what kind of herbivores won't eat anything but grass.....?
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
look into wheatgrass production sounds like exactly what you need. wheatgrass is extremely nutritious.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Mark Harris


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 73
Location: Portugal
Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm curious to know what kind of herbivores won't eat anything but grass.....?


A herbivore that will grow to full size from baby to adult in around three weeks. Will do that on a diet of grass and bran alone, and is packed with protein.
Locusta migratoria , otherwise known as Migratory locusts. But contrary to popular reporting, they are actually fussy about their food, and will only eat gramineae family plants.

Mark Harris


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 73
Location: Portugal
hubert cumberdale wrote:look into wheatgrass production sounds like exactly what you need. wheatgrass is extremely nutritious.


yes I do that now, but as explained above there may be a better option ?
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 4531
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
173
We always seem to get some kind of nice lush new grass growth from the seeds that come out of the hay that we cut from the neighbours' land. Our soil is only a few inches deep, so whatever it is, it's going to be adapted to not needing much depth of soil and *might* do well in trays. I'm rushed off my feet at the moment but I'm going to find a patch of new growth from near the hay pile, stick it in some trays and try to bring it over for you before I have to leave for the UK. If for any reason I don't make it to you before I leave, pop over and raid some!

Also have a pot in the back yard full of nettle seedlings earmarked for you.


What is a Mother Tree ?
Mark Harris


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 73
Location: Portugal
Burra Maluca wrote:We always seem to get some kind of nice lush new grass growth from the seeds that come out of the hay that we cut from the neighbours' land. Our soil is only a few inches deep, so whatever it is, it's going to be adapted to not needing much depth of soil and *might* do well in trays. I'm rushed off my feet at the moment but I'm going to find a patch of new growth from near the hay pile, stick it in some trays and try to bring it over for you before I have to leave for the UK. If for any reason I don't make it to you before I leave, pop over and raid some!

Also have a pot in the back yard full of nettle seedlings earmarked for you.


Well I will happily give some of your grass seedlings a go. The best idea is probably just trial various grasses and see what performs best.

Re nettles. I worked it out. Obviously new members of this forum have some sort of initial test soon after they join. I am supposed to say "yes please, I will swap you a bucket of fresh humanure". If I said no then my account would be deleted by Paul as fast than you could say "making nature my personal bitch".

Ok Mrs Maluca, maybe I will see you on Tues... We will see !

Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 4531
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
173
Tuesday it is! Might not be a very long visit but I'm determined to see you guys again before I leave Wednesday morning.

I'd better pass on the bucket of fresh humanure - I won't be here to process it for a few weeks. Maybe donkey poop?
Mark Harris


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 73
Location: Portugal
No pressure re weds. Its a long was to come for a pit stop visit. It could wait till your back. By the way British Airways object to Light Sussex in the hand luggage. It would help if we knew by late Tues yes or no.
 
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