• Very winter-hardy
  • Excellent forage value
  • Commonly found volunteering in canals and roadside borrow ditches
  • Makes excellent hay when combined with alfalfa
  • Premium feed for horses



Timothy in an introduced bunchgrass of excellent forage value. It is widely used and adapted, found growing in waterways, dry to wet meadows and other mesic environments. It is commonly found volunteering in canals and roadside borrow ditches.  It makes excellent hay, especially when combined with Alfalfa. It is distributed throughout the entire United States; however, it grows best in the northern half of the nation and along mountain chains further south. Agricultural use of timothy occurs primarily in the Northwest, upper Midwest, and Northeast.

Timothy is relatively short-lived. It is adapted to irrigation and areas with effective annual precipitation of at least 18 in. It grows in stools or clumps with a shallow, compact, and fibrous root system. This species is preferred by cattle and horses, and timothy hay is a premium feed for horses. Sheep utilize timothy during the summer in mountainous areas. Timothy is used for pasture and silage, but mostly for hay. It is palatable and nutritious. It makes a first rate companion grass with alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, or clover species as it is one of the grasses least competitive with legumes.

Timothy prefers finer textured soils, such as clays to clay loams to loams and is adapted to soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. It is very winter-hardy and exhibits tolerance to both cold temperature and ice encasement. It is not well adapted to wet, flat land where water stands for extended periods of time, though it can withstand somewhat poorly-drained soils. It does not tolerate drought or prolonged high temperatures and it does not tolerate alkaline conditions. Recommended sites include cool, moist meadows and open forests. It invades wet areas along ditches, canals, drains, and streams and can be a weed in these areas.

Timothy hay is a premium feed for horses and is compatible in legume mixes. Severe damage can result from early grazing under wet conditions. It regrows very slowly following grazing or haying.


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