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COUCH GRASS.   93

Like Couch Grass, it is not very particular about soil and locality, occurring on the open plains as well as on the foot hills. Although extremely resistant to drought, it is not found as a rule on very sandy or dry soil. It prefers rich land and makes a luxuriant growth where sufficient moisture is available. As the name Alkali Grass indicates, it does better than most other hay or pasture grasses on saline soil.

The agricultural value of Western Wheat Grass is little known. In some of the western states it is considered valuable, especially for pasture, and it is thought to be highly nutritive. Its creeping root-stock and its spreading habit are apt to make it sod-bound, however, and it may not be worth cultivation.

AWNED WHEAT GRASS (Agropyron Richardsonii Schrad.)
Seed, Plate 27, Fig. 27.

 

 

Awned Wheat Grass has a short rootstock and therefore grows in tufts like Western Rye Grass. It is easily distinguished, however, by the long awns on the flowering glumes and the arrangement of the flowers in a one-sided spike. It is common in the Prairie Provinces, especially outside the semi-arid regions. It is generally coarser than Western Rye and, on account of its long, stiff awns, less suitable for fodder.

COUCH GRASS (Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.)
Seed, Plate 27, Fig. 25.

Couch Grass is strongly perennial, with a widely running root-stock and numerous leafy shoots which form large matted beds. It is similar to Western Wheat Grass in its mode of growth but differs in being brighter green and having smaller spikelets. It is a native of Europe and has unfortunately been introduced into Canada, in the eastern districts of which it has become well established. Al-though of some agricultural value, it is one of the most noxious weeds and should be carefully guarded against.

I know precisely that for either object, whether to bring the weeds and quitch grass to the surface and to wither them by scorching heat, or to expose the earth itself to the sun's baking rays, there can be nothing better than to plough the soil up with a pair of oxen during mid-day in summer.—Xenophon, The Economist, 434–355 B.C.


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