Seed for New Roadside Grass Now on Sale
October 15, 1999
An initial supply of seed for a new,
low-maintenance perennial turfgrass will go on sale for the first time this
RoadCrest crested wheatgrass is designed for planting along roadsides and
highways, at summer cabins, in "roughs" on golf-courses, or at
similar sites in the Western United States. RoadCrest is also well suited for
revegetating sites disturbed by mining, construction or wildfire, for example.
RoadCrest was developed over a 15-year period by geneticist Kay H. Asay and
colleagues with the Agricultural Research
Service along with scientists at Utah State
University. Asay is based at the ARS Forage and Range Research Unit in
Logan, Utah. ARS is the chief research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In tests in Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, RoadCrest proved
tolerant of cold and drought. The experiments showed RoadCrest should thrive in
regions of the Intermountain and Great Plains states that have mild summer
temperatures and receive about 10 to 20 inches of precipitation a year.
RoadCrest greens up earlier in spring than some of the other wheatgrasses
Asay and co-researchers tested. Like other "cool-season" grasses that
thrive in cool weather, RoadCrest becomes dormant and brown in mid-summer, but
greens up again in late summer and fall. The plant's comparatively short
stature means it may need mowing only once or twice during summer.
Small quantities of RoadCrest seed are now being marketed by the trio of
western companies that hold licenses to sell it. They are Wheatland Seed, Inc.,
Brigham City, Utah; Bruce Seed Farm, Inc., Townsend, Mont., and Round Butte
Seed Growers, Inc., Culver, Ore.
RoadCrest is a descendant of parent plants grown from seeds collected in
Turkey and sent to ARS for testing.
Scientific contact: Kay
H. Asay, ARS Forage and Range
Research Unit, Logan, Utah, phone (435) 797-3069, fax (435) 797-3075,