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Pangola grass
(Digitaria eriantha subsp. pentzii, formerly D. decumbens)

pangola - illustration

  • creeping, low growing
  • tolerant of very wide range of soils
  • best on wet tropical coast
  • combines well with lotononis
  • must be planted vegetatively.

Pangola is a low growing, creeping perennial, essentially for the wet coast receiving more than 1,000 mm of annual rainfall. It is cut by frost and does not produce much winter growth.

Pangola grows well on poor sandy soils and on those with a tight clay subsoil, as it is also fairly tolerant of waterlogging and salinity. It combines well with lotononis and is very responsive to nitrogen nutrition. It has an unusually high sugar content for a tropical grass, and is very digestible.

Pangola flowers, but does not produce viable seed and so has to be planted from cuttings. One technique is to mow a rested pangola sward at two or three successively reducing heights, so that each section of stem cut contains a few nodes; these are then broadcast and lightly disced when weather conditions are suitable.

Pangola can also be sown in lines 20 metres apart while fertility-demanding Callide rhodes seed is sown over the whole area. Callide declines over the next 3 or 4 years by which time pangola has spread.

Stands of pangola can become unproductive through the spread of the pangola stunt virus, especially in tropical regions. Aphids have greatly reduced productivity in some seasons, and rust has been a problem in wet years.

In tropical areas, signal grass gives more reliable performance than pangola, but pangola is still pre-eminent in the humid subtropics. Scientists are currently working with other Digitarias, including Premier and Apollo digit grass, and Jarra and Strickland, with better seeding characteristics and better adaptation to cold or dry situations. Premier digit grass performs better than pangola in subcoastal and inland districts.



Creator: Ian Partridge,
Date created: 14 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003




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