Switchgrass, also known as Tall Panic grass and Wild Redtop, is one of the more dominant species of the central North American tallgrass prairie. It is mainly used for soil conservation, forage production for cattle, and as game cover. Recently, however, switchgrass has also been used as a biomass crop for ethanol and butanol production. This perennial prairie grass grows best on moderately deep to deep, somewhat dry to poorly drained, sandy to clay loam soils.
In soil conservation – erosion control, in particular – this native grass type is seen as one of the most valuable. Thanks to its deep fibrous root system, it has been used to help stabilize soil on strip-mine spoils, sand dunes, dikes, gullies, and other critical areas. It has also been used for low windbreak plantings in crop fields.
As forage, Switchgrass is an excellent source as it produces heavy growth during the late spring and early summer. It provides a good warm-season pasture or high quality hay for livestock.
Thanks to its tall cover and abundance in small seeds, this grass type makes for good game cover. Upland game bird species such as pheasant, quail, and wild turkey will find food and shelter in Switchgrass.
Grass Family (Poaceae : Paniceae)
Latin Name: Panicum virgatum
Value: Wildlife – fair to good
Livestock – good
Switchgrass is a tall, robust bunchgrass and is an important grass of the “True Prairies.” The seedhead is a large open panicle that opens with seeds borne on the tips of the branches. Large, flat leaves have a triangular patch of hair near the base. This grass is strongly rhizomatous. The ligule is a dense ring of hairs. Forage value is good till the plant matures; all kinds of birds eat the seed. It is adapted to sandy soils of Texas and the wet, acid soils of east Texas. It will grow in loams and clay loam soils if the water relationship is good. Tolerates flooding for short periods.
Besides having Switchgrass seed for sale, we at Bamert Seed Company offer a wide selection of high quality seeds for other kinds of native grass such as Sideoats Grama, Big Bluestem, and Bristlegrass. For product inquiries and questions about planting native grass seeds, feel free to contact us.