- High drought tolerance
- High heat tolerance
- Low to moderate frost tolerance
- Somewhat alkaline and saline soils
Redgrass is a warm-season perennial grass that has green or reddish tinged leaves. It grows close to the ground with little foliage higher than 10 cm if left unmowed or ungrazed. It produces slender reddish-purple flowering stems, which grow up to 80 cm in summer and early autumn. Redgrass is extremely hardy and can withstand long periods of drought. During the winter, Redgrass enters a dormant period.
Redgrass grows on a variety of soil types but is best on heavy clays and loams. It is at its best on heavy soils of low to moderate fertility and will establish readily on cracking soils. It prefers slightly acid to neutral pH soils, but can tolerate moderate alkalinity.
Redgrass has been considered to have only moderate to low forage value in pasture, although it has now been shown to provide valuable fodder over the warmer months. When well managed, it can be a useful perennial pasture.
It persists well during droughts and is useful for soil conservation in heavily grazed summer pasture. It’s also good for soil conservation on degraded sites and river banks.
Redgrass has been used successfully as the perennial component of pasture cropping systems. These systems involve sowing a cereal crop into a stand of Redgrass. The cereal crop grows while the Redgrass is dormant and once the crop is removed the Redgrass resumes its dominance. The low vegetative height of the Redgrass suits this application under appropriate environmental conditions.
It is also useful as a grass cover on light roughs of golf courses. Redgrass produces short rhizomes, so the grass slowly spreads beyond the individual plant and will ultimately cover the soil completely.
Redgrass is suitable for turf or lawn use, particularly in areas of low rainfall and infertile soils or on difficult clay soils. It has also been found to be tolerant of heavy metal laden mine wastes and seems to be tolerant of the poor conditions of tailings dams.