Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS Extension Jackson County, & Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS Forage Management Specialist, NFREC Marianna
NFREC Limpograss Pasture

Gibtuck Limpograss at the North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, Florida. Credit: Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS

Limpograss, Hermathria altissima, is a warm-season perennial grass that has been used for beef cattle production in Central and South Florida for a number of years.  With the development of a new cultivar called ‘GibTuck,’ researchers have spent several years evaluating the adaptation of this grass for the Panhandle.  Limpograss has become very popular in Peninsular Florida because of its high digestibility, cool-season growth, and tolerance of poorly drained soils.  There is a great opportunity to add this new forage grass to diversify your operation in the Panhandle.

Limpograss has a longer season of growth than Bahiagrass or Bermudagrass, so it can help bridge the gap between summer perennial grasses both before and after winter annual forages.  Limpograss can also be stockpiled, and strip grazed to reduce the need for hay feeding from October through mid-January.  Limpograss is also more tolerant of poorly drained soils than either of our traditional summer perennial grasses.  One of the key challenges with Limpograss, however, is that it must be planted from fertilized mature tops and not from seed. Limpograss is also injured by 2,4-D herbicides during the warm season, so be careful with herbicide selection.  This is not the case with dicamba or metsulfuron products, so there are good weed control options available for broadleaf weed issues.

 

The staff at the North Florida Research and Education Center’s Beef Unit have organized a distribution day to share Gibtuck Limpograss planting material with local forge producers on June 22, 2022.  The event will be held at the Beef Research Unit located at 4925 Highway 162, Greenwood Florida.  With $50 advanced registration, 30 farms will be provided approximately 1,500 pounds of freshly baled cuttings of tops for planting a one-acre nursery on local farms.  Producers can choose either 25 square bales or 4 round bales for distribution on their farm.  If there are more than 30 farms requesting planting materials, an alternate distribution date will be developed to try to meet this demand.  The deadline to register is June 15th, but the distribution will be limited to only thirty farms, so don’t delay. If there are more than 30 farms interested, a future distribution day can be organized.  Use the following link to register for limpograss planting materials:

Planting Material Advanced Registration (limited to 30 farms)

Once tickets are sold out, email Dr. Jose Dubeux your name, email address, and cell phone number to be added to a waiting list for a future distribution date.

Steps to Successfully Plant a Limpograss Nursery

Spreading Limpograss Planting Material

  1. Select your nursery area that can be easily accessed but protected from grazing
  2. Soil test to determine if the pH is 5.5, and apply lime, if needed, before discing
  3. Spray 2-3 qts/acre glyphosate to kill existing grass and annual weeds. Leave undisturbed for 10-14 days before discing to prepare for planting.
  4. Disc two to three times to prepare a good seed bed. Utilize a drag behind the disc or soon after discing to level the area prior to planting date.  You want your nursery nice and smooth for future harvests.
  5. Pick up planting material on June 22, 2022 based on you assigned appointment time. Farms will be staged in groups of five every 30 minutes from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
  6. Plant as soon as possible after picking up material not to exceed 6 hours. Fresh wet materials will go through a heat and rapidly degrade in a matter of hours.  Don’t leave planting material sitting in the sun prior to planting.
  7. Evenly spread planting material by hand or with a sprig-spreader over the entire acre. Break square bales into pads and use a tedder to evenly distribute.  Use a bale buster, sprig-spreader, or hay unroller to evenly distribute material.  A tedder can also be used, if necessary.
  8. Disc planting materials into the top 2-3 inches of soil. Adjust the front disc gang angle to reduce aggressive digging and deep coverage.
  9. Use a roller or cultipacker to firm up seed bed after discing materials into the soil.
  10. Fertilize based on soil test with 30 lbs. N/acre after emergence, and another 50 lbs. one month later.
  11. Allow Limpograss 2-3 months of growth before mowing, grazing, or harvesting for hay or baleage.
  12. Do not use pasture herbicides containing 2,4-D to control weeds during the warm season as it will injure Limpograss. Contact your county agent for recommended herbicide options based on the weed issues in your nursery.
  13. Your nursey should be well established the following spring. One acre should provide adequate materials for 10 acres of planting the following year.
  14. Burn off frosted grass in early February and fertilize in late March/early April and allow 8-10 weeks of growth to maturity before harvesting planting material. Fertilize after harvest for additional planting material. Limpograss can be planted from April through August when the grass is mature and there is adequate moisture for planting.

 

For more information, read the fact sheet Limpograss: Overview and Management, or contact your local County Extension Agent for more details on uses and management of limpograss for forage production.

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