Switch grass

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by MJ1657, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. MJ1657

    MJ1657 Senior Refuge Member

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    I'm going to plant an acre or two of switch grass for habitat and to harvest to use to brush in our duck and goose blinds.

    My plan is to mold board plow, disc, broad cast seed and culti pack. Ground is currently a grown over clover field.

    Has anyone here grown switch grass?
     
  2. Farm4wildlife

    Farm4wildlife Senior Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    I no-till a good bit of it. Usually pretty easy to establish. Can get aggressive. Might be better served by using Big Bluestem. What kind of soil is it?
     
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  3. MJ1657

    MJ1657 Senior Refuge Member

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    Sandy soil.

    Tell me about Big Bluestem please.

    Does Switchgrass spread?

    Field I'm going to plant it in is about 5 acres total . Woods on two sides thick cattails and lake on the other.

    It's ground we no longer actively farm. Poor soil and difficult to access with bigger equipment.
     
  4. Farm4wildlife

    Farm4wildlife Senior Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Big Bluestem grows a little taller. Clumps better. Sounds like you have good buffers on most of the field. Probably be fine to just use switchgrass. More variety of switchgrass, be easier to get something appropriate for your area and soils.

    Switchgrass will spread but so will other large native grasses just not as much.

    Biggest issue with any of them is to not get it too deep. Switchgrass can definitely be easier to run through a drill or broadcaster than some of the others.

    I wouldn't plow the ground. Get someone to spray it. Be best to burn off the residual left after spraying. Then lightly disk if you don't have the option of no-till. If you can't burn and need to disk more aggressively to remove thatch you will want to cultipack before you broadcast the seed. Drag after spreading seed.

    I recommend not plowing because everytime you disturb the soil you will expose weed seed that is in the ground. Same thing happens with disking. Your area might not be terrible with invasives but around me it is. If you don't spray you will need to plow to kill what is there. But I recommend herbicide over conventional tillage.
     
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  5. MJ1657

    MJ1657 Senior Refuge Member

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    I know what you're saying about spraying and I have a sprayer but.... Half the fun of this food plot/habitat deal is getting my antique tractors and equipment out and playing with them.

    I'm getting my seed from a local prairie restoration company .I'll definitely ask them what seed would be best for my application.

    I appreciate your help.
     
  6. Farm4wildlife

    Farm4wildlife Senior Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Make sure you get seed that has been tested. Normally when purchasing it will be sold as pls. That stands for pure live seed. If it's not sold as pls but has a current germination ticket you can still figure it out. It's different then purchasing a bag of clover or something. Often the seed lot might have poor germination or lots of chaff in the seed. Make sure you are getting what you are paying for.
     
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  7. MJ1657

    MJ1657 Senior Refuge Member

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    Yep I'm aware of that.
     
  8. thatguy2

    thatguy2 Elite Refuge Member

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    I frost seeded 2 acres this year. Once you have it planted keep it mowed the first year and it will establish quicker. Im gonna hit my seeding with 2-4d to knock the weeds back. Ive got big bluestem and indian grass all over my property, but I wanted something taller for a blind location and as a visual screen from the road.
     
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  9. Farm4wildlife

    Farm4wildlife Senior Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Not certain what variety your planting that is taller than big Bluestem or Indian grass. Switchgrass is shorter than both of those species. Switchgrass does seem to stand longer in the winter and makes a good screen because of that. Indian and big Bluestem will lay over once it gets some snow or ice on it.

    If you mow it in the first year to keep down competition make sure you are mowing it high. Needs to be 8" or so. Not worried about making it look good it's to knock the tops off of the weeds.
     
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  10. MJ1657

    MJ1657 Senior Refuge Member

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    Good info.

    I'd like it to be able to stand up in the winter .There are a lot of pheasents in this area . Not a great picture you have to zoom a bit but it will go in the field in the upper left side of the picture. What you see growing in the lower part of the picture is radish's I planted for the deer . 20181105_151719.jpg
     

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