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RED TOP.   51

 

North America. Its cultivation began in England about two hundred and fifty years ago, but it is only since the middle of the last century that it has been commonly grown in Europe.

Cultural conditions: Red Top grows naturally in all kinds of localities. Sonie of the varieties persist in light, sandy soil where little moisture is available, but they make a poor growth and have no agricultural value. Other varieties make a luxuriant growth in wet places and are of great importance. As the yield depends almost entirely upon the growth of the creeping root system, the grass does best in soil where the roots can develop freely. This they will do in light and wet soil, whereas in heavy dry land the rootstocks and runners become short and rather unproductive. Red Top makes a splendid growth in a moist climate. It is therefore suitable for low ground not far from the seashore. It is very resistant to cold.

Habits of growth: In proper soil it makes a good growth the same year it is sown. It starts comparatively late in spring but when once growing it keeps on until late in the fall.

Agricultural value: When mixed with other species for hay, Red Top makes a splendid bottom grass and will grow in places too wet for most other grasses. On account of its slow start, it has not as a rule reached full development when the other grasses in the mixture are ready to cut. On the other hand, it produces leaves and stems until late in the fall and is valuable where a second growth is required for pasture. It is liked by all kinds of stock and stands tramping very well, being even induced by it to send out a greater number of rootstocks and runners. It quickly develops into a dense and even sod, but if allowed to grow too long in one place it may be difficult to suppress. It is especially valuable for lawn-making. If used alone, twenty pounds of good seed should be sown to the acre.

 

Seed: When grown for seed it should be harvested when the seeds are easily rubbed out. Commercial Red Top, as a rule, contains a great amount of chaff. So-called recleaned seed is nothing but ordinary seed from which some of the chaff has been removed. Ordinary commercial seed is reddish brown with a silvery sheen. The more silvery the lustre, the less the chaff and the heavier the weight. When the proportion of chaff is large, the weight is rather low, sometimes not more than eight pounds per bushel. Recleaned seed containing little chaff may weigh as much as thirty-five pounds a bushel. As a rule the seed germinates well as it retains its vitality for several years.


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