Switch grass panicum virgatum

http://ontariograsses.com/main/species.php?id=3080

I have ordered in enough Switch Grass Seed to do a Quarter Acre worth of plants, I have a Multi level  Multi Year plan for them.

This year, I will be starting a number of them and then transfering clumps of them onto the top edge line (down about 18 inches or so on top of my ditch line along the front of my food forest front yard.

The county cuts the front ditch line and the middle line but does not cut my side of the ditch line, which tends to grow a number of things including small fruiting native bushes seeded by the birds.

I touched on this before but in case you missed that post, my county closed a local bridge due to age and that means that everyone on this side of the river is now funneled up or funneled down to the other two bridge crossings and this means that the traffic coming past my farm has massively increased as if you are funneling downward, you are now coming right past my farm..

This also means that the local ATV trail club has needed to change their route and yup, its now coming down my road in droves.. we used to see the odd local on their ATV, right now, we are seeing groups of them, up and down our roads daily, I can see between 20 to 50 of them right now daily..  and soon with the snow, the snow machines will be ripping around behind the farm.. they are to swing wide and for the 90 percent that do so, no issue with them.. have lots of fun but there is always that 10 that do not want to take the longer way around, and will cut across and race up my fence lines freaking out my expecting ewes or making my lambs go bonkers and will roar as they come round.. and I will take their photos and turn their ass in or if its local, I will growl a touch to the land owner and he will remind them that they are to follow the sign paths and not run my fence lines..

I really do not mind them at all when they follow the rules and take the paths marked out.. but back to the new ATV pathway, they seem to love to slow down and be neck crankers and that I do mind..  Not that much to see in winter but I love to putter and I like my dogs out in the yard with me..

So we need to fence in that front line of the yard this year but I also plan to put the switch grass in a line on the outside of the fence line, it grows on average 5 to 6 feet tall, so it should create a living fence cover, it is flower from late summer into the fall, its said that the little wild birds love the seed and that it stays up and tall and helps catch snow..  All good things

Then in the spring, its biomass, as its to be cut down to 6 inches, and it is said to produce a massive amount of biomass once its growing well.. I want that biomass.. I have lots of manure but I am buying a lot of straw..  I am hoping? that the birds will do a great job on cleaning up the seeds in winter, and that way I can cut and use the switch grass both in composting and in layering in the gardens

The second amount of seed is going into a swath down the fenceline in the very front pasture to again give me a living fence cover as the bonus but its going to be cut younger/greener for the biomass, and will ideally once in full growth, 2 or even 3 cuts is possable. Time will tell me how good this will go..

On the other hand I am also on the look out for the smaller more clump, less spreading version called Praire Fire as I want it to be the hair on a project coming for the garden this year LOL.. I love the idea of it.. but more on that later 🙂

Do you have Switch Grass in your back edging in your garden? Do you have it in your landscaping? Are you using it to hold slopes stable? Have you used it as a biomass in your compost? Have you cut it down in the spring and used it as mulch>? Have you cut it in green form to use as Feed? and or dried it and used it as bedding?

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5 Responses to Switch grass panicum virgatum

  1. Silver says:

    What an annoyance, fingers crossed they will behave themselves when driving past the farm.
    That being said the grass looks lovely and it’s a great way to add a barrier between the fence and the track. At the first place I lived as a student, the management had planted a lot of beri beri and blackberry bushes all round the student flats. It gave people on the ground floor privacy and acted as a great deterrent to any would be burglars.

  2. Don’t know if you’ve come across this resource before Val? But BOY, do they have a lot of info for each plant and cross-referencing for what likes to grow with it! (But be careful, one can easily ‘get lost’ while browsing around in here; )
    http://www.newmoonnursery.com/plant/Panicum-virgatum

  3. bluestempond says:

    We planted switchgrass and many other prairie grasses on our farm and it has so many environmental benefits besides just making a barrier. The deep root systems are great for filtering and holding water, and the habitat it creates for the animals is very beneficial. It is not easy to get rid of if you ever decide to, but …why would you?

    • Good Morning Bluestem, thank you so much for the feedback and those on them holding the water, that is excellent news that you have been seeing those results.. I agree, from what I can read it will be VERY hard to get rid off, so the spreading issue is something I am keeping in mind, its part of the reason that I am wanting to work with it on the edges so that I can if need be mow and why I am not putting it in the middle of the gardens and so forth.. I want it as the backdrops in that way..

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