For quantities over 5 (five) pounds please call TOLL FREE 1 800 826 3655 for quote and shipping costs.
Purple top (Tridens flavus) is a perennial, warm season bunchgrass that is consumed by all grazing livestock. It has erect tufted culms and stands 35 to 75 inches tall. Leaf blades are flat, often less than ½ inch wide and 10 to 27 inches long, lax, smooth, and glossy green. The leaf sheath is flattened near the base, keeled i.e., has a central rib, and overlapping. The ligule is a ring of short hairs. The seedhead is an open cluster, 8 to 14 inches long, spreading, pyramid shaped, usually purple, sometimes nearly black. The seedheads droop and are covered with an oily or grease-like substance.There are 465,000 seeds per pound.
Purple top is adapted to areas of the Eastern US where rainfall is higher than 30 inches. It will grow in shallow, droughty soils that are well-drained, shallow and rocky, and fertile to sterile. It provides forage in the summer and on sites where cool season forages do not produce well. It can be planted alone or in mixes with other warm season grasses. It is tolerant of road salt and often colonizes roadsides.
Purple top should be seeded in spring, when soil moisture and temperatures are conducive to germination. Seeding depth should be ¼ inch. Ten to fifteen pounds PLS (pure live seed) per acre is sufficient for drill seedings. For broadcast seedings, the seeding rate should be 20 to 25 pounds PLS per acre.
Purple top seedlings are slow to develop and competition from weeds and/or cool season grass may overwhelm the stand on the better soils. Stands should be established using a no till drill to minimize the number of weed seeds exposed. The cool season grasses must be thoroughly killed with contact herbicide before seeding. Purple top is tolerant of most broad leaf herbicides. (Read labels for application amounts and grazing restrictions.)
The most common cause of purple top establishment failures is a loose seedbed. Conventionally tilled plantings should be packed before and especially after the seeding. The seedbed should be firm, showing only a slight imprint when stepped on. When using a no till drill, be sure the furrows are closed to avoid seed exposure and drying. This is effectively done by cultipacking after drilling.
Fertilization to maintain moderate levels of phosphorus and potassium are recommended for establishment. Nitrogen fertilization is not recommended until the purpletop is established and above the competition. It may be applied late in the first summer at 20 to 40 pounds per acre or early in the second summer at 40 to 80 pounds per acre. Fertilizer should be applied in subsequent years to maintain vigor and enhance production. Mature stands resist weed and brush encroachment, but are tolerant of mowing or burning for control. Cool season grasses and legumes can be controlled with a contact herbicide or overgrazing before the purpletop emerges. Rotational grazing of purpletop that removes half the above ground growth (6 to 12 inches down to 3 to 6 inches) will provide the best forage and maintain the stand. With care, a stand will last indefinitely.
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Seed Available in the Following Quantities
Call Freddie Lorenz TOLL FREE 1 800 826 3655 any time for a quote on quantities of 1oz or more
- Download this information as a printable .pdf fact sheet. Purple Top Fact Sheet