Timothy is a widely adapted bunch grass with a relatively shallow and fibrous root system.
Timothy Grass

Timothy Grass

It is less competitive with alfalfa and trefoil than other tall grasses and is best suited for hay or silage in combination with alfalfa, red clover, or birdsfoot trefoil.


  • Perennial, bunch-type, shallow-rooted, cool season grass
  • Adapted to moist and cool conditions
  • Dense and cylindrical seed head
  • Leaves rolled in bud
  • Flat, ribbed leaf blade
  • Membranous ligule
  • Stores energy in a bulb-like corm at the base of the plant

Timothy Root System


  • Excellent hay crop
  • Later maturing than orchardgrass - maintains quality later into spring
  • Compatible with other legumes and forages


  • Little drought and heat tolerance
  • Plagued by cereal rust mite in early spring which consumes plant nutrients and destroys vascular bundles in the stems and leaves - plant leaves will roll and turn yellow
  • Low tolerance of drought or wet conditions
  • Hay type forage with few leaves at the base of the plant and limited energy storage in corms
  • Low tolerance of frequent grazing
  • Slow to establish - new seedings may fail if weed pressure is high

Timothy Cereal Rust Mite


  • Fall is preferred seeding time
  • Avoid growing in sandy soils
  • Pure stands - sow seeds at 8-12 lbs. per acre,
  • Seed 1/2 inch deep in well - prepared seed bed
  • For pasture use - seed with other grasses that are more tolerant of frequent grazing and dry conditions
  • Do not graze shorter than 3 to 4 inches
  • Allow a minimum of 3 weeks recovery time after grazing
  • Apply lime and fertilizer based on soil test results
  • Apply 100 to 150 lbs. of nitrogen per acre, split into several applications (apply 50 lbs. of nitrogen in spring)
  • Remove horses from pasture until all fertilizer has been incorporated into the soil

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Contact Information

Donna Foulk
  • Extension Educator
Phone: 610-746-1970