The last sentence in Mr. Batchelor's critique of the usefulness of the Italian ryegrass for pastures in the North leaves no doubt to his position. Enjoy.
The following image and letter written by Mr. Batchelor are from the
1891- The Country Gentleman, Volume 54
Mr. Editor—I have to thank you for sending to me for inspection the hundred culms of so-called perennial rye grass, sent to you by Mr. John Henderson, and noticed on page 538 of your valuable paper. I have to say in relation to the bunch or sheaf you sent, that it does not contain a single culm of Lolium perenne, or English rye grass; on the contrary, every one is Italian rye grass. The marked distinction between the two varieties is that the spikelets of the perennial rye are awnless or without hairs, while the Italian is decidedly hairy; even its seeds are awned. And here let me say that I have never yet seen a culm of English rye grass growing anywhere during my peregrinations into the grass fields of the Northern States and Canada.
Twenty years ago, I began to note the disappearance of this grass by freezing out, and I then began seeding plots (in Oneida county) to test the hardiness of the variety; but found, after three successive seedings and summers, that it would die out, root and blade, every winter.
Seven or eight years ago, I caused the seed of the L. perenne to be sown in a plot on the farm of the Experiment Station at Geneva, N. Y., where it grew vigorously during the summer, but entirely disappeared during the winter there, so that not any of it appeared again in the plot.
There is a Scotch variety of Lolium, known as Pacey’s, which is very dwarf and very hardy, and is an excellent kind to grow with the smaller fescues and crested dog's-tail in a sheep pasture. It is also an excellent lawn grass. This variety is often sent to me as the L. perenne or English rye grass, but it is easily distinguished by its tenuity.
Thousands of bushels of the seeds of English rye grass are imported into this country, and sent out in meadow mixtures to regions and States where the thermometer often goes 15° below zero. Under such climatic severity, the seed might just as well be sown in Lake Erie.
Utica, N. Y. DAN‘L BATCHELOR.
I had to look these up, of course :-)