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RED FESCUE   73

Habits of growth: Red Fescue does not start so early in spring as does Sheep's Fescue. Its nutritive value is highest at flowering time, as the basal leaves dry up or get hard and unpalatable soon after that. It recovers quickly after being cut or pastured and develops numerous new leaves from the underground rootstocks. For this reason it makes a fairly good bottom grass in hay mixtures.

 

 

Agricultural value: Although its feeding value is rather low, Red Fescue has some qualities that make it especially fitted for pastures and lawns. It stands tramping and close cutting well and develops firm and lasting mats of tough sod which serve as soil binders on sandy or gravelly land. Dwarf varieties of extra fine texture are cultivated and the seed saved for lawns.

 

 

Seed: The seed of Red Fescue is commonly gathered from wild plants. It is straw-coloured, often with a red or violet tint, and is generally a little longer than Sheep's Fescue seed. It weighs from ten to fifteen pounds per bushel.

Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.—Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, Sc. I., 1591.

The seed is long buried and hidden in the earth; little by little it comes to maturity. But if it bear an ear before its stem is knit, it is imperfect, and is only a plant of the garden of Adonis.—Epictetus Maxims, No. 369, (1st century A.D.)

Who soweth in rain, he shall reap it with tears,

Who soweth in harms, he is ever in fears:

Who soweth ill seed, or defraudeth his land,

Hath eye-sore abroad, with a corsie at hand.

—Thomas Tusser, Five Hundreth Pointes of Husbandrie, 1557.

There is naught which earth displays with intent to deceive, but in clear and simple language stamped with the seal of truth she informs us what she can and cannot do. Thus it has ever seemed to me that earth is the best discoverer of true honesty, in that she offers all her stores of knowledge in a shape accessible to the learner, so that he who runs may read. Here it is not open to the sluggard, as in other arts, to put forward the plea of ignorance or lack of knowledge, for all men know that earth, if kindly treated, will repay in kind. No! there is no witness against a coward soul so clear as that of husbandry; since no man ever yet persuaded himself that he could live without the staff of life. He therefore that is unskilled in other money-making arts and will not dig, shows plainly he is minded to make his living by picking and stealing, or by begging alms, or else he writes himself down a very fool.—Xenophon, The Economist, 434–355 B.C.

28549—8


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