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Forage Identification and Use Guide


Panicum virgatum

Switchgrass leaves have a very hairy ligule that often has a dense tuft of hairs where the leaf joins the stem.

Tall-growing perennial native warm-season bunchgrass. Deep-rooted rhizomatous grass. Some varieties tolerant of wet sites. Grows 3 to 7 feet tall.

Hay, pasture, wildlife.

Drought tolerant, grows on poorly drained soils, seed is easy to handle in conventional seeders. Efficient user of nitrogen. Good summer growth.

Slow establishment and low seedling vigor. Poor animal acceptance when mature. Short growing season. Not tolerant of close, continuous grazing. Major growth occurs while cool-season forages are also productive.

Rate: 6-10 lb/a PLS*
Depth: ¼-½ in
Date: Apr 15-Jun 1

First harvest: Jun 1-Jun 15
Annual yield: 3-5 tons dry matter/a

*Pure live seed, or PLS, is equal to the percent germination multiplied by percent purity, both expressed as decimals. For example, a big bluestem seedlot that is 70% pure seed and 50% germination would be 35% pure live seed.

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