When & How to Plant Switchgrass in East Texas?

Overview

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) grows 4 to 6 feet tall and can be used as livestock feed, hay, biofuel, erosion control or as grass for a native East Texas meadow. Sow switchgrass directly from seed in April, advises Texas A&M. Switchgrass takes a couple of years to become well established, but will spread with time, and displays cold hardiness that makes it a wise choice for more northern climates as well.

Step 1

Mow over your existing lawn with a lawnmower, cutting the grass as short as possible. Rake up the clippings if your lawnmower does not automatically collect them. If you are sowing switchgrass over bare dirt, skip this step.

Step 2

Rake over your lawn with a grass rake, loosening the top 1/4 inch of soil. This loosens the soil enough so the switchgrass seed can germinate. Do this on both bare dirt and lawn you've just mowed.

Step 3

Add topsoil to low patches on your lawn so the switchgrass grows in evenly. Use bagged topsoil or remove extra dirt from hilly spots, relocating it to low spots.

Step 4

Sow switchgrass seed by hand or using a mechanical spreader, applying 16 seeds per square inch.

Step 5

Cover the seed with 1/4 inch of topsoil if planted on bare dirt. This prevents the grass seed from washing away. If planted on the stubble of your old lawn, you don't need to apply topsoil.

Step 6

Water the newly planted seed until the water becomes moist but not wet. Water the lawn in this manner in both the morning and the evening every day until the switchgrass seed germinates, typically within two weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawnmower (optional) Grass rake Topsoil Switchgrass seed

References

  • Iowa State University: Switchgrass
  • Greenview Fertilizer: How to Plant Grass Seed
  • University of Kentucky: Switchgrass
  • Forages of Texas: Switchgrass
Keywords: growing switchgrass, switchgrass planting information, planting switchgrass Texas

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.