Also, imagine your garden at wintertime to see if your landscape lacks winter interest. It is more and more difficult to find an American garden without an ornamental grass. Native grasses were present in Michigan when Europeans arrived. When is the Best Time for Planting Switchgrass? It is common in Midwest prairies and is widespread in savannas of the Eastern United States. Switch grass is a versatile plant that provides year-round interest with minimal care. This native grass mixes well with late asters, sedums, Echinops ritro, red shrub roses, smoke bush (Cotinus sp.) The best time to plant switchgrass is in the winter. IA CP25 30-10 Standard $ 110.00 /acre. This allows the new growth to begin unencumbered by last year’s old growth. I have often equated dividing ornamental grasses to dividing the trunk of a tree. Get to know this valuable group of plants; every American garden should have some. We are excited to get more species into production and plan to increase diversity and capacity each year. Plant as soon as the soil is workable but before the last frost. Switchgrass produces large seeds on a spangled-type seed head. In other words, none of them are runners, which can quickly outgrow their allotted space and become a nuisance. That is the extent of my experience planting Switchgrass in the spring. Cool-season grasses may be a weed problem in some established switchgrass stands. Some gardeners rebelled and began using smaller evergreen shrubs. Four treatments (0, 1, 4, and 8 plants/m 2) of crabgrass were planted with one switchgrass plant. Switchgrass should be seeded between May and mid-June. Switchgrass, ‘Cave-In-Rock’ A rhizomatous, upland warm season bunchgrass; a good biomass producer; a favorite for reclamation and wildlife. George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI. Northern upland switchgrass typically lives on ridgelines and in prairie areas in states such as South Dakota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Planting switchgrass for deer habitat does make some sense, but I have never been a big fan of it. Switchgrass is attractive as a potential bioenergy crop because it can grow for years without having to be replanted. If warm-season grasses are planted too late and the weather is hot and dry, the seedlings may not establish quickly. Providing height, flow and dra… MN CP1 $ 50.00 /acre. I could not believe how stiff and upright this tight clump grew. It is important to plant into a warm, moist soil. The only maintenance your switch grass will require is a trim to about 6 inches in late March or early April. As a warm season grass, switchgrass thrives in the heat of summer but goes dormant in the cold winters. Jonathon Hofley / Michigan Gardener ‘Rostrahlbusch’ switch grass in the summer. They may be as little as 1 inch tall or towering to 20 feet. This not only saves on replanting costs—switchgrass stands are expected to last for 20 years—but also allows its root system to stay in the ground, reducing risk of erosion and run-off while channeling fertilizing nitrogen back into the soil. The only switchgrass I have ever planted was “pre-stratified”. If you live in a place where the soil is never far below 60 degrees, … Photo: Dennis Pennington. Switchgrass is a perennial warm season grass that takes 3-5 years to fully establish. Mark E. Griffin. Use switchgrass massed or in groups at the back of perennial borders, in mixed plantings or in prairies and native gardens. Clumps of switch grass expand so slowly that they may not require dividing for 10 years or longer. It should not be grazed closer than 5 to 7 inches during the growing season. If you are using your switch grass in a perennial border, there are many late-blooming perennials that make fine companions. It is highly adaptable to a wide range of soils and growing conditions. This publication provides planting information on forage species that have proven track records and are therefore recommended for use in Michigan. Plant during the period April 15 to June 15. There are several switchgrass varieties to choose from and its high tolerance for different planting sites makes ornamental switchgrass a great choice for any landscape. The huge flowers are the most wind responsive of any of the switch grasses; the slightest breeze will send your garden into a long mesmerizing dance. Even if you don't burn before planting switchgrass, you're going to want to burn every 3-4 years once you get a good stand established. ‘Dallas Blues’ bears very wide leaf blades of powdery blue. Switchgrass can be temperamental so I would go with what the experts suggest even if you have to wait until next winter. This exceptional, strong grower will usually produce substantial plants faster than other varieties. Clumps of switch grass expand so slowly that they may not require dividing for 10 years or longer. The best time to plant switchgrass is in the winter. Botanical name: Panicum virgatum (PA-ni-kum vir-GAH-tum), Flower color: Soft purple, yellowish, gray-blue, pinkish red, Leaf color: Various shades of blue-green or gray-green, Light: Full sun to light shade; flowering and fall color are best in full sun, Soil: Tolerant of most types; from dry to wet, sandy to clay, Uses: Perennial bed, mixed border, hedge, specimen plant, Companion plants: Tall sedums, Russian sage, boltonia,  asters, mums, Remarks: Great year-round interest; fantastic fall color, from yellows to orange-reds, changing to tan in winter; easy to grow. I have not seen that the deer use it much in my hunting area, but I assume in areas with limited cover, they would use it more. 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