Fall Panicgrass (Dichotomiflorum)

The Fall Panicgrass (Dichotomiflorum) is generally described as an annual graminoid. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the summer and fall . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the summer, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Fall Panicgrass (Dichotomiflorum) has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Fall Panicgrass (Dichotomiflorum) will reach up to 3.3 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 0 inches.

The Fall Panicgrass (Dichotomiflorum) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by seed. It has a moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -43°F. has none tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Warning-Livestock: Fall panicgrass has been blamed for causing nitrate poisoning and extreme sensitivity to light in livestock (called photosensitivity). of any skin that is not protected from the sun.

Noxious: Fall panicgrass has become a nuisance in cultivated fields, such as corn, alfalfa, and soybeans.

Wildlife: Small seed eating birds and ducks eat the small seeds. Fall panicgrass produces a large number of seeds. After the first frost, the seeds fall to the water and the sites are used as feeding and loafing areas for ducks, coots, and wading birds. It provides browse for deer and rabbits.

Conservation Practices: Fall panicgrass, because of its growth habit, potentially has application when established with certain conservation practices; however, conservation practice standards vary by state. For localized information, consult your local NRCS Field Office.

General Characteristics

General: Grass Family (Poaceae). It is a tufted, annual, vigorous grass, which belongs to the largest genus. Culms are erect to ascending and range in heights of 6 feet. Basally, the culms are decumbent to geniculate and root at the nodes. The culms bend at the nodes forming a zigzag pattern; hence the name zigzag grass. The blades are flat, smooth, up to 20 inches long, and ¾ inch wide. The margins on the underside are scantily ciliate. The leaf sheaths are loose, purplish, and smooth with the margins thin and dry. The ligules are membranous and are surrounded in thick, small, white hairs. The inflorescence is a panicle located on the top of the main stem or on the primary stems. The spikelets are purple to brown, oblong and range in lengths of up to 10 inches long. The first glume is about ¹20 inch long and with 1 to 3 indistinct nerves. The second glume and the sterile lemma are even in length, green or partially purple, acute, 5 to 7 nerved, and are twice as long as the first glume. The fertile palea and lemma are acute, light to dark brown or purple, and [! to ¹6 inch long. The caryopsis is yellow-brown, and elliptic.

Required Growing Conditions

Fall panicgrass is found mostly in moist areas along streams, floodplains, wet clearings, and as a weed in cultivated areas and waste sites. It is commonly found with Echinochloa walteri and Echinochloa crusgalli. Fall panicgrass is located throughout the United States, Nova Scotia and in the West Indies. It is native to Louisiana. For current distribution, consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Cultivation and Care

Adaptation: Fall panicgrass is found in freshwater to intermediate water where salinity ranges from 0 to 3.5 parts per thousand. During the summer, a change from moist soils to dry soils is required for the seeds to germinate. Shallow flooding after germination provides for maximum growth. Organic soils produce the most prolific stands; however, it can grow on mineral soils. Fall panicgrass is an indicator plant for anaerobic, compacted soil.

General: Seeds propagate fall panicgrass. Stratification of mature seeds must occur before the seeds will germinate. Germination takes place from April to May and will continue throughout the summer months. To obtain the highest germination percentage, a soil temperature of 80° F is suggested. If competition is suppressed, plants that germinate first will produce up to ten times more dry matter than those maturing later in the year did. Before flowering from August to September, fall panicgrass is at its peak in growth.

It is not recommended to mix fall panicgrass seeds with warm season grass seeds. In Louisiana, the warm season grasses can be taken over because they develop slower than the cool season grasses. It is also recommended that seed not be moved more than 300 miles north, 100 miles east or west, or 200 miles south of its point of origin.

General Upkeep and Control

The best control method for fall panicgrass in cultivated fields is to establish a shady crop canopy because fall panicgrass must have full sun to grow. Check with the local extension service for recommended herbicides. Fall panicgrass is susceptible to the following diseases: Barley yellow dwarf luteovirus, Maize chlorotic mottle machlomovirus, Maize white line mosiac virus, and insusceptible to Panicum mosiac sobemovirus.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Graminoid
Growth Period Summer, Fall
Growth Duration Annual
Lifespan Short
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Summer
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Bunch
Drought Tolerance None
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 3.3
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Green
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Moderate
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Seed
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -43
Soil Depth for Roots 6
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate Slow
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 4.8–7 pH
Precipitation Range 20–20 inches/yr
Planting Density 0–0 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 6
Minimum Frost-Free Days 100 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance Medium
CaCO3 Tolerance High
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability High
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA