Please read these instructions completely before starting your switchgrass planting project! It could save you a lot of time, money and disappointment.
Ground Preparation – Your planting site should be free of any growing or established plants. Frost-seeding or no-till drilling can be done with no ground prep on sites free of other live vegetation, particularly cool season grasses which will out-compete switchgrass and hinder its establishment. The only way to get rid of established grasses is with herbicide. If you think you are going to get away with just burning or mowing a site where grasses are growing, your project is doomed to fail.
Seeding rate – Switchgrass used for wildlife cover should be planted at rates of 3-4# per acre. More is not better! Higher seeding rates can result in crowding where the grasses are stunted and will not grow as tall. Real World recommends that you plant our switchgrass at a rate of 4# per acre. It is often difficult to spread 4# of seed over an entire acre so to make this process easier you can mix the seed with pelletized lime to get more material to spread.
Planting methods – The best way to plant switchgrass is by frost-seeding in the late winter or early spring. This simply involves broadcasting the seed onto ground (even frozen ground or snow-covered ground) that has either been prepared the previous fall or is bare or in a crop residue such as soybean stubble or cornstalks. When frost-seeding it is important that the site be totally free of established grasses.
If frost-seeding is not possible, switchgrass can also be planted into freshly prepared soil by broadcasting and then either culti-packing or lightly dragging. The seed should be no more than ½” deep.
Switchgrass seed can also be planted with any conventional or no-till drill that is suitable for clover or alfalfa seed.