The majority of pastures and hayfields in Tennessee contain either tall fescue, orchardgrass or timothy. These are cool-season perennial grasses, meaning that they grow during the spring and fall, but are somewhat less productive or dormant during the summer. Since they are perennial, they come back each year from a crown instead of through seed germination.
The major reason these grasses form the base of most forage programs in Tennessee is their long growing season (Figure 1). Tall fescue and orchardgrass are the primary grasses used for pastures and hay, although some producers use timothy either alone or in mixtures with the other two grasses. All three of these grass species can be used successfully in Tennessee. Differences between these grasses make the choice on which grass to use dependent upon what the purpose is (grazing vs. hay) and where in the state your farm is located. Several other cool-season perennial grasses can be grown in Tennessee. Grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and matuagrass can be used, however the stand life of the grasses is generally reduced due to summer heat and drought. Because of the shorter stand life of these plants, they generally are not recommended for hay or pasture in Tennessee.
"SP434-E Tall Fescue, Orchardgrass and Timothy - Cool-Season Perennial Grasses," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, 04-0202 SP434-E 10/99 E12-5215, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexfora/7