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SWITCHGRASS  

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Switchgrass - NativeGrasses.com

SWITCH GRASS: Is a native, perennial warm season grass used for forage, slow to establish and fast growing up to 2-6 ft. As with a lot of our native plants it was depleted from over usage, burning, and land clearing for farming. Renewed interest in this grass is on the rise again. 

Nativegrass

This grass along with other plants is also being considered for fuel. Used as fresh forage, pelletized as supplemental feeds, and ground cover. Switch grass is excellent for renovation of wildlife habitats and supplying ground birds with insect habitats and ground cover and forage for other wildlife.

BIO-FUEL USE - VARIETY & PLANTING INFO
For information about varieties and use as bio-mass for bio-energy purposes - read this link which provides info on growing, management and variety selection:
http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/switchgrass.html

Native Grasses - SWITCH GRASS

It is used in naturalized plantings for erosion control, field dividers, conservation areas; most all wildlife habitats can use switch grass in small or larger areas. It grows in a variety of soils and temperatures and remains a refuge for animals even through heavy snows. Switch grasses can be used in landscaping area designs and comes in several color variations and is used in some flower arrangements. With the "pond and bog" additions to many naturalized settings becoming popular Switch grass makes another comeback as an ornamental grass.

Native Grasses - Switchgrass - Maintenance - Switchgrass - Maintenance

FERTILIZATION: Depending on the soil and usage up to 90lbs nitrogen per year.

VARIETIES: Popular varieties - Blackwell, Trailblazer, Cave-In-Rock, Alamo, Kanlow, Shelter

LIST OF BASIC VARIETY TYPES:
Collection Info on Varieties:
http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/ndpmcpu7093.pdf
Upland Varieties
Trailblazer Developed by USDA-ARS and Nebraska Agricultural Research Division, Dept. of Agronomy, Univ. of Nebraska. Released 1984. Collections from natural grasslands in Nebraska and Kansas. Adapted to Central Great Plains and adjacent Midwestern states. (Good choice for Midwestern / Southern state areas)
Blackwell Developed by Plant Materials Center, NRCS, Manhattan, Kansas. Released 1944. Upland type switchgrass. Widely adapted to Kansas, Oklahoma, southern Nebraska, and northern Texas in areas with 20 inches or more of annual precipitation. (Good choice for Midwestern / Southern state areas)
Technical Info:
http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/news/features/great_am_plant/blackwell.html
Cave-in-Rock Plant Materials Center, NRCS in cooperation with the Missouri AES. Released 1973. Tolerant to flooding. Adapted to Midwest. (Good choice for Midwestern / Southern state areas)
Tech Info: http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/mopmcfscavinroc.pdf
Dacotah Northern state variety.
Tech Info: http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/ndpmcrbpavi2daco.pdf
Pathfinder Selected at Nebraska AES, Lincoln, ARS cooperating. Released 1967. Winter-hardy, late maturing. (Good choice for Midwestern / Northern state areas)
Sunburst Northern state variety. (Good choice for Northern states) - Larger seeds are ideal for wildlife food purposes.
Caddo Selected at Oklahoma AES, Stillwater, ARS cooperating. Released 1955. Forage yield under irrigation outstanding for native grass; recovers well after mowing.
Lowland Varieties
Alamo Developed by Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and NRCS, Knox City, Texas. Released 1978. A premier lowland variety, heavy yields especially in the south.  (Good choice for Southern states)
Technical Info: http://tfss.tamu.edu/pasture_grasses.htm
Kanlow Developed at Kansas AES and ARS, Manhattan. Released 1963. Developed for soil conservation in poorly drained or frequently flooded sites. (Good choice for Midwestern / Southern states)
Technical Info: http://okcrop.com/kanlow_switchgrass.htm
Also: http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/kspmcnl7249.pdf
Basic variety info Source: Oregon State University, 2006. (Modified by Seedland)
 

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PREPARATION: Soil testing, supplements if needed and pH of 5 and eradication of competing grasses and weeds.

SEEDING: Drill seeded on large acreage and can be broadcast on smaller plots at 5-10 LB/ A depending upon the seed (live or bulk) - Spring planting is best (soil temp 65+ degrees)

MANAGEMENT: Use rotational grazing methods, overgrazing will kill it back, mown high and hayed in mid to late June, small foodplots can be mown high and controlled burnings at the appropriate times such as early spring when the growth is starting to encourage insect populations and open areas for the ground birds to move through. Or it can simply be left alone.

ADAPTATIONS: About ¾ of the United States and can grow on seashores all the way to swamps, inland areas, along streams and drought prone areas.

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