How to Grow Eastern Gamagrass

Overview

Eastern gamagrass is a warm-season perennial that can live 50 years or longer. While it can be used as a cattle pasture, it also works well as an erosion barrier planted between fields to stop runoff. Because gamagrass seed units contain a fruit case surrounding the seeds, they must be stratified in a cool, moist environment to loosen the case and allow for germination.

Step 1

Time your planting based on your regional growing season. Gamagrass should be planted in your area around the same time early corn is planted. Begin preparing your seeds 6 to 10 weeks before this date to be ready for your region's planting time.

Step 2

Stratify the seeds by halfway filling your burlap sack with seed units and soaking them in your fungicide for 10 to 12 hours. Drain and seal the burlap bag inside a plastic bag.

Step 3

Place the bags inside a fridge at 35 to 45 degrees and leave for 6 to 10 weeks. Do not let the seeds freeze, so check your temperature controls to be sure you are not going below 35 degrees.

Step 4

Remove the bag from the fridge and open it to recover the seeds and plant immediately. A depth of 1 to 1½ inches is good for a medium textured soil. If your soil is lighter, plant a little deeper to make sure the seeds don't dry out.

Step 5

Moisten the soil immediately after planting and continue to maintain a moist seedbed for the first 3-4 weeks by lightly watering daily.

Step 6

Water as needed throughout the growing season based on the annual rainfall of your area and whether or not drought is experienced. The gamagrass performs fine with annual precipitation ranging from 25 to 35 inches.

Step 7

Allow the gamagrass to become established before grazing is permitted. Eastern gamagrass should be left with a minimum of 6 to 8 inches of stubble after grazings to avoid crop failure.

Things You'll Need

  • Eastern gamagrass seeds units, 8 to 10 pounds per acre
  • Burlap bag
  • Thiram, or other one percent fungicide solution
  • Plastic bag, larger than burlap bag
  • Refrigerator
  • Plowed seedbed
  • Seed drill, optional
  • Water source or irrigation system

References

  • USDA Plant guide
  • USDA PLANTS profile
Keywords: eastern gamagrass, gamagrass, how to grow eastern gamagrass

About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.