Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Petty Vaughan’s Notes on Guinea Grass, 29 March 1819, enclosure number 2 in Petty Vaughan to Thomas Jefferson, 29 March 1819


Petty Vaughan’s Notes on Guinea Grass

The Guinea Grass succeeds well in Jamaica upon dry, stony uplands; & when well established, will last for 20 or 30 years.—Used as grass for cutting, it may be cropped 3 or 4 times annually.—If for pasturage, it should not be fed too low in the dry part of the season; as the sun then gets at the roots, & burns them up. The common rule is, to feed it about 4 times in the year, & not to reduce it lower than 1 foot in height.

It is propagated in Jamaica by dividing the root, & planting the slips about 18 inches square; after which it is allowed to seed & sow itself twice, (which it does in a year,) before much use is made of it.

This grass is remarkable for its succulence, & consequently its nutritive qualities. If it succeeds in Virginia, i[t] will be found highly beneficial; tho’ a little time may be required to naturalize it to the Climate.

Good planters in Jamaica clean their Guinea Grass once or twice a year; which is easily done with the hoe, & even by children.

Tho’ it succeeds on dry land; yet it grows well also in moist situations.

MS (DLC); in Vaughan’s hand; edge torn; endorsed by TJ: “Agriculture. Guinea grass. mr P. Vaughan.”

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