Topics : Species and Forage Variety Trials : Species Fact Sheets : Timothy
Additional timothy information via the Forage Information System (FIS)
Characteristics & Adaptation of Timothy
Timothy (Phleum pratense L.) is a perennial, bunch-type, shallow-rooted, cool- season grass which is well adapted to the Northeast and upper Midwest (Table 1). Its shallow root system, however, make it unadapted to droughty soils. Timothy is popular in the northern half of Pennsylvania and most of New York because of its natural adaptation to moist, cool environments. Timothy is the most popular grass in New York, with the majority of New York's hay crop acerage sown to timothy-legume mixtures. Its sensitivity to high temperatures has limited its productivity in southern Pennsylvania. Timothy stores energy reserves for regrowth and tillering in its haplocorm or corm (enlarged bulbous stem structure) at the stem base. Its energy storage pattern makes it a better hay crop than a pasture species.
Timothy is grown primarily for hay for horses but is frequently included in pasture mixtures. It is less competitive in a legume mixture than most sod-forming grasses and is frequently grown in a legume mixture for hay. However, special attention must be made to match the maturity of the timothy with the maturity of the legume to ensure timothy persistence and quality forage.
Adapted Timothy Varieties
Most of the timothy sold in Pennsylvania and New York is common (not a certified variety). However, seed of several improved varieties is available. Climax is a leafy variety which is rust resistant. Heading occurs during late May or early June which is about a week later than common timothy. Richmond, Toro, and Mariposa are early maturing (about 10 days before Climax) varieties which exhibit relatively rapid regrowth after harvest. Mohawk matures at about the same time as Climax but produces a slightly greater proportion of its seasonal yield in the first harvest than Climax. Champlain is a high yielding variety which matures about 7 days after Climax but has poor seedling vigor.