How to Plant Switch Grass

Overview

Switch grass is native to the U.S. and covered much of the Southwest, Midwest and and Southeast at the time this country was settled. Because switch grass is a native species, it is not susceptible to many diseases or pests. Switch grass can be grown for hay production or as biomass for fuel. Make sure you know how long your seeds have been stored, so you can follow instructions on germinating them properly.

Step 1

Clear the land of vegetation by spraying a herbicide per manufacturer's directions. Young switch grass plants can be crowded out by weeds or other grasses as they are establishing themselves, so it is important to kill most of the weeds and grasses on the land before planting.

Step 2

Rake away any dead vegetation following the herbicide application. At least 30% of the land should be bare before you attempt to plant switch grass.

Step 3

Use a drilling planter to plant the switch grass seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Plant 5 to 6 pounds of seeds per acre. Seeds that have not been in storage for at least 12 months need frost to germinate and should be planted in January or early February, or before the last frost in your area. If your seeds have been in storage for 12 months or more, you can plant them during the winter or as late as April or May.

Step 4

Firm the ground on top of the seeds with a press wheel, cultipacker or roller after planting. The ground should be firm enough that no footprint is visible when walking on the soil.

Step 5

Do not water unless severe drought conditions exist.

Things You'll Need

  • Herbicide
  • Switch grass seed
  • Drill planter
  • Press wheel, cultipacker, roller or other soil-packing machine

References

  • Switch Grass Seeding by the Iowas State University
Keywords: planting switch grass, growing switch grass from seeds, propagating switch grass

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.