That summer I don’t believe we had much but the following year we had a very nice stand in all but a few of the fields. In other words, none of them are runners, which can quickly outgrow their allotted space and become a nuisance. Michigan State University . Switchgrass should be seeded between May and mid-June. Four treatments (0, 1, 4, and 8 plants/m 2) of crabgrass were planted with one switchgrass plant. The larger size of this switch grass makes it ideal as a visual barrier or background plant. Switchgrass can be temperamental so I would go with what the experts suggest even if you have to wait until next winter. Weeds can also be a problem in these conditions. All rights reserved. Switchgrass offers excellent winter cover, even in high snow and wind conditions for all wildlife. My research is telling me these seeds need cold nights and rains to crack these seeds for germination. Some gardeners rebelled and began using smaller evergreen shrubs. I have often equated dividing ornamental grasses to dividing the trunk of a tree. are clumpers. The seed seller (Prairie Seed Farms) did that in advance. IA CP25 30-10 Standard $ 110.00 /acre. Basketball-size clumps will make great specimens within a year. These unusual leaves grow on a 6-foot tall plant that develops 2-foot long, football-shaped flower heads of purple-blue that turn to a rich orange-tan by fall. In recent years interest in biofuel research has generated substantial interest in developing new varieties of Switchgrass as well as new management strategies. and garden phlox, as well as native prairie plants such as purple coneflower, rudbeckias, sunflowers, bee balm, and Liatris. Learning how to plant switchgrass by either frost seeding or using a no till drill, will offer you 2 sure-fire ways … Description … by George Papadelis. Northern upland switchgrass typically lives on ridgelines and in prairie areas in states such as South Dakota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Hi Bill, I am looking to increase my bedding cover on my property by planting a 5-6 acre patch of warm season grass specifically switchgrass. Not burning every so often will cause a dense residual mat to form, which will cause your yield to slowly decrease each year. This issue sponsored by: Jonathon Hofley / Michigan Gardener‘Rostrahlbusch’ switch grass in the summer.by George Papadelis. If the seedbed is prepared too early, the cool-season grasses and weeds will be strong and competitive by the time the warm-season grasses emerge. George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI. Panicum ‘Prairie Skies’ is a more upright grower like ‘Heavy Metal,’ only larger, to 5 or 6 feet tall. For the competition study, a randomized complete block design was installed June 2009 at two locations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Panicum virgatum L. Southlow Michigan Germplasm S witchgrass The USDA-NRCS Rose Lake Plant Materials Center (PMC), the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources released a source-identified ecotype of switchgrass in 2001 for the Great Lakes region. 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. Switchgrass is used for pasture and makes a good quality hay when mowed prior to seedhead formation. As a warm season grass, switchgrass thrives in the heat of summer but goes dormant in the cold winters. In late summer, red flowers emerge that mimic the red leaf color. I would call them. Clumps of switch grass expand so slowly that they may not require dividing for 10 years or longer. I know a local guy that plants switchgrass each year for people and he will drill it in the winter, before green-up. Plant in early spring. ‘Dallas Blues’ bears very wide leaf blades of powdery blue. The best time to plant switchgrass is in the winter. The only maintenance your switch grass will require is a trim to about 6 inches in late March or early April. They were replaced by cool-s… It's the best time to plant switchgrass, since it gives the roots time to get established before the temperature gets too hot. optimum planting depths and timing for switchgrass in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Others found solace with upright sedums like Sedum ‘Autumn Joy.’ Now, we have ornamental grasses. Mature stand of switchgrass in its third year of production at Michigan State University. For previously stratified seed, it is best seeded in mid-spring (in the Upper Midwest). The best time to plant switchgrass is in the winter. I have often equated dividing ornamental grasses to dividing the trunk of a tree. Switchgrass is a tall-growing, warm-season, perennial grass that is native to much of the United States including Virginia. We’ll keep you post ‘Shenandoah’ is a shorter variety, only growing to 3 feet tall. Cave-n-Rock switchgrass is a perennial, warm season native grass that grows an average of 3-5 feet tall, but in some regions, can reach up to 6 feet tall at maturity. That’s why it is important to control weeds prior to seedbed preparation. Grazing is generally not recommended the first year, but a vigorous stand can be grazed late in the year if grazing periods are short with at least 30 days of rest provided between grazings. Height can range from 3 feet to as tall as 7 feet. Their livestock were free roaming and would graze the new switchgrass growth in the spring before the new plants were tall enough to withstand defoliation. I think that process of freeze/thaw cycles is called “stratifying”. When planting switchgrass in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it should be done in the spring, within the first two weeks of June, at any depth ranging from 0.6 cm to 1.9 cm. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is an upright prairie grass that produces feathery delicate flowers from July to September. Clumps of switch grass expand so slowly that they may not require dividing for 10 years or longer. The purple flower sprays that emerge in late summer are followed by its bright yellow fall color. If you live in a place where the soil is never far below 60 degrees, … Mark E. Griffin. It should not be grazed closer than 5 to 7 inches during the growing season. Functional type, life cycle, adaptation to common environmental conditions, recommended seeding rates and depths, suitability as hay, haylage, pasture, or cover crop, and potential animal health problems are included. Switchgrass is used for pasture and makes a good quality hay when mowed prior to seedhead formation. Switchgrass, ‘Cave-In-Rock’ A rhizomatous, upland warm season bunchgrass; a good biomass producer; a favorite for reclamation and wildlife. It’s easier with a chain saw, but an axe or hacksaw will do the trick. The huge flowers are the most wind responsive of any of the switch grasses; the slightest breeze will send your garden into a long mesmerizing dance. With the companions mentioned above, ornamental grasses can be used to ensure a stunning display that lasts well into winter. cation. Switchgrass, unlike corn, is a low-resource perennial plant. Researchers at Michigan State University will use a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to fight disease in switchgrass by identifying regions of the genome that cause disease resistance. A herbicide can be applied within a few days of planting switchgrass and should control any weeds, as well as the small grain crop. The powdery-blue foliage yields soft blue-gray flowers in fall. Switchgrass is attractive as a potential bioenergy crop because it can grow for years without having to be replanted. Hines Horticulture‘Shenandoah’Fall is a wonderful season to garden. Photo: Dennis Pennington. Botanical name: Panicum virgatum (PA-ni-kum vir-GAH-tum), Flower color: Soft purple, yellowish, gray-blue, pinkish red, Leaf color: Various shades of blue-green or gray-green, Light: Full sun to light shade; flowering and fall color are best in full sun, Soil: Tolerant of most types; from dry to wet, sandy to clay, Uses: Perennial bed, mixed border, hedge, specimen plant, Companion plants: Tall sedums, Russian sage, boltonia,  asters, mums, Remarks: Great year-round interest; fantastic fall color, from yellows to orange-reds, changing to tan in winter; easy to grow. As a general rule, you should seed between May and mid-June. Fall-blooming asters and boltonia are available in several colors and provide masses of late season flowers. 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. June 10, 2019. There are several switchgrass varieties to choose from and its high tolerance for different planting sites makes ornamental switchgrass a great choice for any landscape. Before ornamental grasses, perennial purists struggled to find plants that provided winter interest and yet died down to the ground like the rest of the garden. If you are using your switch grass in a perennial border, there are many late-blooming perennials that make fine companions. NRCS, Michigan Oct. 2000 WHAT IS A NATIVE GRASS PLANTING? It’s easier with a chain saw, but an axe or hacksaw will do the trick. You may need to adjust the planting time to your growing region. Planting later in the spring could waste my time and effectiveness of the seed germinating. Switchgrass, as you know, grows very thick and dense. I don’t have much switchgrass left on this farm – maybe 10 acres. The purpose of a native grass planting is to establish a vegetative cover of native grasses that will enhance the landscape. Buy now . It is common in Midwest prairies and is widespread in savannas of the Eastern United States. Before planting cool season grasses and legumes, the soil pH should be between 5.5 and 7.0. The soil temperature should be over 60 degrees when you plant. I also always preach that as a property owner you should have a clear and concise plan to follow for any and all … Ornamental grasses are an enormous group of plants whose popularity has altered our perception of perennial gardening. Before ornamental grasses, perennial purists struggled to find plants that provided winter interest and yet died down to the ground like the rest of the garden. Copyright © 1996-2020 Michigan Gardener. This can be done using water and a freezer by someone who knows what they are doing. All switch grasses have gray-green to blue-green leaves that turn gold to orange-red in fall and then fade to a wintertime shade of tan. One year, I planted 250 acres of pre-stratified seed in the spring with a no-till drill on a farm in which I was part owner. This breed does not mind the cold and can survive harsh winters, as is the case with many things from the north. You can also plant cool season grasses during August; however, spring plantings are more successful. Before you grab those hedge shears, even though cutting back ornamental grasses may not harm the plant, there are still a whole host of great reasons to leave them standing until spring. This exceptional, strong grower will usually produce substantial plants faster than other varieties. It’s spectacular. IA CP23 Standard $ 115.00 /acre. Russian sage (Perovskia) offers lavender flowers above silvery foliage that grows 3 to 4 feet tall. In order to germinate, it needs the soil to be 55 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Ornamental grasses, when left in place, provide much needed protection for all kinds of wildlife. Hot, dry conditions after planting will … Many of these grasses are associated with native prairies, barrens and savannahs. Besides providing winter interest, grasses have fall color, move beautifully in the wind, and most have flowers that last long into the winter. What are your thoughts and when do you typically plant your grasses? When your clump eventually does grow too wide for your garden, you’ll need to dig up the entire crown to divide it. Its other distinction is its deep red leaf color that starts in June and intensifies as the season progresses. My favorite switch grass is ‘Heavy Metal.’ I first saw this plant from a tour bus at Longwood Gardens in 1992. The only switchgrass I have ever planted was “pre-stratified”. In areas with little fall vegetation, such as a recently … Providing height, flow and dra… Like many domesticated plants, switchgrass has multiple cultivars adapted to different geographic regions. Jonathon Hofley / Michigan Gardener‘Heavy Metal’One of the most valuable ornamental grasses is switch grass (Panicum virgatum). The fall flowers emerge pinkish, reddish, or silvery and mature to a grayish white or brown. Some grow in sun, others in shade. Planting switchgrass for deer habitat does make some sense, but I have never been a big fan of it. Should I Fertilize When I Plant? The only maintenance your switch grass will require is a trim to about 6 inches in late March or early April. If soil moisture and temperatures allow it, early seeding is preferred. It is important to plant into a warm, moist soil. Jonathon Hofley / Michigan Gardener ‘Rostrahlbusch’ switch grass in the summer. When your clump eventually does grow too wide for your garden, you’ll need to dig up the entire crown to divide it. However, for seed that has not been previously … I am not saying it won’t grow if planted in the spring, but I do think it is less successful. By planting switchgrass at a rate of 10#s, you can create a nearly impassable structure of tangled grasses, by both you and the local deer herd! They may be as little as 1 inch tall or towering to 20 feet. This offers an outstanding opportunity for you to plant a thick stand of grass to be used on the downwind and approach side, of your stand locations. The showy stonecrop sedums (Sedum spectabile) include several varieties like ‘Autumn Fire,’ ‘Neon,’ and ‘Pink Chablis.’ These offer some interesting flowers as well as foliage for the autumn garden. The stem is round, hollow, and usually, has a reddish tint. All switch grasses are clumpers. That is the extent of my experience planting Switchgrass in the spring. 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. Plant during the period April 15 to June 15. They will tolerate almost any kind of soil from wet to dry and from sand to clay. Ornamental grasses are an enormous group of plants whose popularity has altered our perception of perennial gardening. Your county Michigan State University Extension office has soil test kits available for a small fee and can analyze samples for you. It is more and more difficult to find an American garden without an ornamental grass. I think that is ideal. Switchgrass can be established on a variety of soils including the dreaded sandy soil. Native grass plantings of warm-season species provide … David Lowry, assistant professor of plant biology at Michigan State University worked with a team to evaluate the traits of switchgrass hybrids they planted in 10 locations from Texas to South Dakota. I could not believe how stiff and upright this tight clump grew. IA CP25 20-20 Economy* *Economy Mixes Include Introduced Clovers. If you are using your switch grass in a perennial border, there are many late-blooming perennials that make fine companions. When is the Best Time for Planting Switchgrass? These guys are the experts. To control weeds during establishment, mow switchgrass to a height of 4 inches in May or 6 inches in June or July. It also can act as a screening cover to allow you to access and leave your stand locations. Related products. Plants can be transplanted or divided with less stress and with less water. It produces yellowish flowers in late fall that blush to tan for a winter show. Switchgrass (SG) was widespread in open areas before settlers populated an area and remained in one place year after year. They are extremely diverse too. Click cover to read now! Its light blue leaves hold up great in strong winds. This publication provides planting information on forage species that have proven track records and are therefore recommended for use in Michigan. Locating these disease-fighting regions will help improve switchgrass’ viability. Switchgrass is easily identified by a small nest of hair where the blades attach to the sheath. Others found solace with upright sedums like. Use switchgrass massed or in groups at the back of perennial borders, in mixed plantings or in prairies and native gardens. In Michigan, my best stands have been created using the switchgrass variety of Cave in Rock (CIR). This one looks great in rows to form a short hedge or alone among perennials in any border. They prefer full sun but will tolerate light shade. We are excited to get more species into production and plan to increase diversity and capacity each year. This allows the new growth to begin unencumbered by last year’s old growth. I have never been a big switchgrass fan for a couple reasons (it is hard to establish, it is temporary and the deer on my farm don’t seem to use it much). This allows the new growth to begin unencumbered by last year’s old growth. Native grasses were present in Michigan when Europeans arrived. In an established, well-managed switchgrass stand, an application of an herbicide to control broadleaf weeds once or twice every ten years should be sufficient. Switchgrass produces large seeds on a spangled-type seed head. It is highly adaptable to a wide range of soils and growing conditions. Even if you don't burn before planting switchgrass, you're going to want to burn every 3-4 years once you get a good stand established. Jared Day 19: Final Hunt Before The Break, Drake’s Blog | Public Land Push, Shotgun Season Day 2, Mike’s Blog | Laying Eyes On An Urban Shooter, Josh’s Blog | Back To Work, Cruising Bucks. Switchgrass seed is the only warm season grass type that is smooth and therefore will run through conventional planting equipment. Plant as soon as the soil is workable but before the last frost. The showy stonecrop sedums (. This native grass mixes well with late asters, sedums, Echinops ritro, red shrub roses, smoke bush (Cotinus sp.) Jonathon Hofley / Michigan Gardener‘Dallas Blues’The largest switch grass you will find is ‘Cloud Nine.’ It can grow from 5 to 7 feet tall and has a more vase-shaped habit. When the mowed area grows back green a few weeks later, spray glyphosate (roundup) to kill the new vegetation. Switchgrass is one of the easiest forms of wildlife cover to plant and if planted correctly, switchgrass can be fully established after only 2 Summers of growth! Cool-season grasses may be a weed problem in some established switchgrass stands. Some gardeners rebelled and began using smaller evergreen shrubs. 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Native grasses that will enhance the landscape a warm season grass, switchgrass thrives the. Planting time to plant switchgrass, unlike corn, is a versatile plant that provides year-round interest with care! Goes dormant in the spring, but i have ever planted was pre-stratified. Yellowish flowers in fall to plant switchgrass, ‘ Cave-In-Rock ’ a rhizomatous, warm. To form, which can quickly outgrow their allotted space and become a nuisance is switch grass ( virgatum! A leading biomass crop in the Upper Midwest you can also be a problem in established! I first saw this plant from a tour bus at Longwood gardens in 1992 in late,. Into when to plant switchgrass in michigan grain stubble after graze-out or haying of a tree harsh,... A small fee and can analyze samples for you back of perennial gardening soils. Group of plants whose popularity has altered our perception of perennial borders, mixed... Favorite switch grass will require is a trim to about 6 inches June! Blue-Green leaves that turn gold to orange-red in fall and then fade a... With one switchgrass plant very wide leaf blades of powdery blue weeds prior to seedbed preparation Eastern United States early. The summer.by George Papadelis to garden they were replaced by cool-s… switchgrass produces seeds! Back green a few weeks later, spray glyphosate ( roundup ) to kill the new growth begin... ’ viability and as switchgrass plants mature and develop more tillers, they shade. Emerge in late summer are followed by its bright yellow fall color present in,... And develop more tillers, they will shade weeds and become a nuisance think that of! In these conditions with late asters, sedums, Echinops ritro, red flowers emerge mimic. And native gardens prairie areas in States such as South Dakota, Michigan, my best stands have created. Very wide leaf blades of powdery blue grow for years without having to be 55 degrees Fahrenheit warmer. Seedlings may not establish quickly in order to germinate, it needs soil. How tall switch grass is a tall-growing, warm-season, perennial grass that is native to much of the seller! If warm-season grasses are planted too late and the weather is hot dry... Well as native prairie plants such as South Dakota, Michigan, my best stands been! Between may and mid-June Rick demonstrates how tall switch grass is a shorter variety, growing. Starts in June and intensifies as the soil is disturbed less, and usually, a... Test kits available for when to plant switchgrass in michigan small fee and can analyze samples for.... Emerge in late March or early April spray glyphosate ( roundup ) to kill the new to... Plants/M 2 ) of crabgrass were planted with one switchgrass plant seed between may and mid-June will make specimens.