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Crested Dogstail (Cynosurus cristatus)

Crested dogstail is an interesting grass that used to be used in grass seed mixtures many years ago. It is hard-wearing and slow growing, qualities that meant it was once used in ‘low maintenance’ type mixtures. However, crested dogstail has been completely superseded by modern varieties of perennial ryegrass. One of the main issues with crested dogstail in a lawn mixture is that it is very hard to cut. Its leaves are very tough and fibrous which means that the mowers tends to strip or rip the leaf, leaving an untidy finish.

Key Characteristics

  • Very tolerant of wear
  • Quick germination
  • Germinates at low temperatures
  • Slow growing

What is crested dogstail used for?

Today crested dogstail is generally not used in any lawn seed mixtures or mixtures for sports. It is, however, widely used as a companion grass when sowing perennial wildflowers. Wildflowers are very slow to establish and can easily be outcompeted if blended with the wrong grasses, especially perennial ryegrass. Crested dogstail is ideal as a companion because it is fast to establish, acting like a nurse crop, but it is also slow growing and will not outcompete the wildflowers. Crested dogstail also looks visually attractive when it is allowed to grow long and produce a flowering seed head, making it a suitable component for use in mixtures for golf course roughs.

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