New Western Grass Soon to be Roadside-ReadyBy
A hardy new grass that thwarts erosion may become a leading choice for
seeding along roadsides and highways in the West. Called "RoadCrest,"
the grass tolerates cold and drought. It readily forms rhizomes--horizontal,
underground stems that send up new shoots to create attractively uniform,
Until now known only by its research designation, "CWG-Rhizome,"
RoadCrest is the result of 15 years of work by
Agricultural Research Service geneticist
Kay H. Asay and colleagues with
ARS in Logan, Utah, and at Utah State University.
Tests in Utah, Colorado, Washington and Wyoming indicate that RoadCrest, a
cool- season grass, should thrive in temperate, semi-arid areas of Intermountain
and Great Plains states. In those regions, RoadCrest is best-suited for sites
that have mild summer temperatures and receive about 10 to 20 inches of
precipitation a year.
In the ARS experiments, RoadCrest "greened up" earlier in spring
than many other grasses, formed rhizomes more vigorously, and was shorter in
stature, a trait that helps reduce the need for mowing. Another cost-saving
feature: Less RoadCrest seed was required to establish a healthy stand.
RoadCrest is a long-lived perennial crested wheatgrass. It is a descendant
of parent plants grown from seeds collected in Turkey and sent to ARS for
The State of Utah helped fund the
work by ARS, the chief scientific agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. Seed should be on sale by the year 2000.
Scientific contact: Kay H. Asay, research geneticist, USDA-ARS
Forage and Range Research Unit, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, phone (435)
797-3069, fax (435) 797-3075, firstname.lastname@example.org