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Topics : Species and Forage Variety Trials : Species Fact Sheets : Timothy

Species: Timothy

Additional timothy information via the Forage Information System (FIS)


Timothy Establishment

The best seeding time is before Aug. 1 in northern New York, Aug. 15 in southern New York and northern Pennsylvania and Sept. 1 in southern Pennsylvania.

Timothy can be successfully established in either spring or late-summer seedings. However, fall seedings are more successful because the cooler weather during the fall is more suitable for timothy growth, and weeds are less of a problem. Timothy can be slow to establish and may fail when weed competition is severe during establishment. Grass weeds are especially harmful. Small grain companion crops can be used in spring seedings, but should not be used for late-summer seedings. Oats are the most common companion crop, but early removal for silage or by grazing is necessary to reduce competition for light and moisture. A small grain and field pea companion crop may provide too much competition when establishing an alfalfa- timothy mixture.

If a late-summer seeding is planned, prepare the seedbed 2 to 4 weeks ahead of seeding, if possible. This will allow the soil to become firm and provide an opportunity to accumulate seedbed moisture.

The best stands of timothy are obtained when sown not deeper than 1/2 inch in a well- prepared, firm seedbed. A firm seedbed is essential to the successful establishment of small- seeded grasses such as timothy. A firm seedbed allows greater regulation in seeding depth, holds moisture better, and increases seed to soil contact. Proper seeding depth can be accomplished with band seeders equipped with press wheels. Other seeding methods can be used, but chances of obtaining thick stands and vigorous growth in the seeding year are reduced. Cultipacker seeders and grain drills work well if the seedbed is firm and the seed is covered to a depth not exceeding 1/2 inch. Roll or cultipack after seeding with grain drills not equipped with press wheels or after broadcast seeding. Caution must be used not to bury the seed after broadcast seeding.

Timothy should be seeded at 8-10 lb. per acre when seeded alone. When seeded in a mixture with a legume reduce the timothy seeding rate.

Mixtures of cool-season grass species are generally not recommended for hay or silage production because of the difficulty of managing grass mixtures (e.g. proper harvest to obtain high quality and persistence when the grass maturities are different). However, timothy is frequently planted in mixture with other grasses for use in pastures, especially pastures for horses. A pasture mixture that has performed well in Pennsylvania is 8 lb. of Kentucky bluegrass plus 4 lb. each of smooth bromegrass and timothy and 1 lb. of white clover. This mixture can serve as a good pasture for horses throughout much of the summer.