How to Grow Switchgrass From Seed . One of the most misunderstood facts about planting switchgrass is what time of the year is the best to plant. Fields can begin being grazed when plants are 10 to 12 inches tall, and should be grazed down to 4 inches within two weeks. Switchgrass, a tough ornamental grass that stands up to a variety of harsh conditions, adds both texture and color to a garden. Switchgrass is a hardy plant that can survive in soil that isn’t very rich. A method to break dormancy ensures higher rates of germination. It will spread slowly over time and make stunning vertical accents wherever it is planted. Since alot of people plant their foodplots and other crops in the spring, they automatically assume that is the time to plant switchgrass as well. Without a dormancy-breaking step in the planting process, as few as five percent of the seeds may germinate.This is thought to be one reason so many switchgrass and other native warm-season plantings fail. The large differences in the recommendations can be attributed to seed quality, planting method, and environment. Switchgrass will benefit from burning of plant residues just prior to initiation of spring growth. They tolerate a wide range of soils, even clay and sandy soils and dry soils, but prefer the soil to be moist. Planting switchgrass for deer habitat does make some sense, but I have never been a big fan of it. Ground condition, soil preparation and planting depth are critical to success, and there’s a wealth of how-to-plant resources online. They tend to like an average soil that isn't too rich in organic matter, which can cause plants to flop. If you’re concerned about your soil quality, check the type of switchgrass you have and look it up to make sure it likes the ground where you live. I had not planned on planting switch until mid-winter last year so prepping the plots (I planted 4 small plots of it in different areas of my property) the previous fall was not done. Switchgrass seeds can be very dormant right out of the bag. Frost seeding switchgrass could be one if th easiest and foolproof ways to establish an outstanding swithchgass planting! Although switchgrass can grow easily from seeds, it's worth noting that the seedlings often differ significantly from the original plants. This warm-season grass blooms in mid- to late- summer. Production Challenges . Planting a switchgrass cultivar south of its origin area results in less biomass because the shorter photoperiod causes plants to flower too early. Seed Dormancy. Choose your switchgrass wisely by understanding its growth form – height and stalk stiffness matter for a winter habitat. Burning fields once every 3 to 5 years decreases weed competition, eliminates excessive residue and stimulates switch grass growth. Since it’s a native species, it’s quite low maintenance, and there’s no need to pre-treat the soil before planting. There are major challenges to using switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol (Mitchell et al., 2008). Seeding rate recommendations for establishing switchgrass vary widely – from 2 pounds PLS/acre up to 10 pounds PLS/acre. I have not seen that the deer use it much in my hunting area, but I assume in areas with limited cover, they would use it more. As I mentioned previously, I am new to planting switchgrass - last year was my first attempt and I never thought about mowing it - although I certainly should have. A goal for switchgrass establishment is to plant at … Switch Grass is a North American native grass that is very easy to grow. Switchgrass is an excellent food source for livestock, and is especially palatable before plants flower, but its quality and palability decline rapidly as it approaches heading. An ethanol plant requires a reliable and consistent feedstock supply. Depending on the variety and cultivar, some have foliage that changes color in the fall. 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