Types of Switchgrass
As switchgrass evolved across the great plain states, different ecotypes developed. Each variety exhibits distinct characteristics that make it suitable to a particular region. Research studies show that selecting varieties based on location increases the survivability and productivity of the switchgrass stand. Cold temperatures, day length, soil conditions and summer heat index are important environmental factors to consider. Switchgrass varieties should not be moved more than one hardiness zone from their origin.
Switchgrass can be planted in a pure stand or used in a mix with other native grasses and forbs. Pure stands of switch grass are great winter cover and will generally stand tall though the toughest of winters. Other NWSG’s tend to lie down when heavy snows and strong winds begin to blow. Depending on one’s habitat needs, solid stands (monoculture) of switchgrass can be used for green energy biofuels, pasture for livestock, and cover. If mixed with other NWSG, switchgrass tends to dominate the other varieties of grass and in time may dominate the entire stand. Solid stands of SG and mixed stands of NWSG each have a place in our habitat programs.