46 FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.
Clover on heavy, moist or wet soils, and with Red Clover on dryer and lighter land. By relatively thick seeding a grass of finer texture is produced, which should be cut soon after the spike is well formed and flowering has commenced. If left until late flowering, some in-crease in yield is obtained at the expense of the quality and feeding value of the hay. When it reaches its maximum growth, the stalk becomes hard and woody. If a second growth is wanted, it should be cut just before the flowering period, as this makes the aftermath greater.
When sown alone, from nine to fifteen pounds of good, fresh seed should be applied per acre.
Timothy is not a desirable pasture grass, except as a part of a mixture. On account of its shallow root system and somewhat bunchy growth, it will not stand tramping as well as other grasses commonly recommended for pasture. In the dryer uplands it will within a few years give place to the native grasses, especially if the fields are allowed to be grazed bare by sheep.
Seed: For a seed crop Timothy should be harvested as soon as possible after the plant has reached full maturity—when the spike turns from green to yellowish. If harvested too early, the seed will be small, undeveloped and of poor germinating power. If harvested after it is ripe, the seed is apt to hull when it is threshed and to lose its bright silvery lustre, thus giving it the effect of old seed.
Timothy is commonly threshed with an ordinary grain thresher, although the best obtainable seed is harvested by hand and threshed by flail. It is grown in the St. Lawrence valley and Georgian Bay district, and the quality of this seed from the standpoint of boldness and bright silvery colour is not surpassed. It is sometimes saved from screenings of fall wheat sown after Timothy sod, but such seed is generally polluted with False Flax and other weed seeds not common in grass lands.
Seed of good quality is of a bright silvery lustre, and only a small amount is hulled. Dull-looking seed is either old or has been harvested or stored under unfavourable conditions. When newly threshed, the vitality of the hulled seeds is not inferior to that of the unhulled; but the naked seeds lose their vitality earlier than those enclosed in seed coats. If fully matured seed is preserved in a cool, dry place, it retains its vitality from three to five years; even when nine years old it gives a high total percentage of germinable seeds, although at that age the germ is usually perceptibly weakened.