Smaller cat’s-tail is a leafy perennial grass of medium height and growth. It is its tight cylindrical heads that give it its name ‘cat’s-tail’; in this species they are typically up to 6cm in length. The leaves are flat, hairless and pale greyish-green in colour. Its plants develop a laxly tufted base from which leafy flowering stems arise with a bent or prostrate base, as well as some leafy non-flowering runners (stolons) making it capable of vegetative spread.
Smaller cat's-tail is a widespread native grass of old meadows and pastures, downs, roadside-banks and waste places. It occurs on a wide range of soil types from heavy clays to free-draining calcareous and sandy soils.
Smaller cat's-tail can be found growing naturally in native grassland more often than the larger species Timothy (Phleum pratense) which is thought to be native only in moist soils on lowland water meadows.
Smaller cat's-tail can be sown at any time of the year when soil conditions are suitable.
It is a moderately vigorous grass and although it has small seed it establishes readily from seed in good growing conditions; only a small % is needed in a seed mixture.
Smaller cat's-tail is a very palatable grass useful both for grazing and hay making. It is a comparatively late maturing grass so will stand longer waiting for hay time without loss of quality. It is cold tolerant grass which will often remain greener and produce more growth through winter and early spring than other grasses.
Smaller cat's-tail responds better than Timothy to regular mowing or grazing and produces a better more resilient turf so is sometimes included in lawn mixtures.