Switchgrass

Discussion in 'Dbltree's corner' started by dbltree, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Switchgrass in Summer.jpg Switchgrass in summer driving next to it.jpg Switchgrass Fall.jpg I've planted 5 types of switchgrass to date over the years. My top 2 are Cave In Rock and Kanlow. Sunburst is an interesting newer one that so far, so good. These are 2 year old stands. 3rd year is generally fully mature. For sure 4th year. 4th year I will burn if needed. Not before then.
    Here's some summer pictures of them and also a pic I snapped last week. Second year, managed right, good growing years - IDEAL: 6-8' tall. Drought, mowed, weed issues but still thriving: 1-5' tall depending on situation.
    Switchgrass likes "high quality soils"- dark black soils but can grow on a wide variety of soils. Lower bottom land, switch is my "go-to". I have no switchgrass "monocultures" over about 10 acres. I like diversity & think it's best. A few fields or patches - all switch, great. I would not do it for every drop of my farm, IMO.

    SEED: February/March is ideal. DRILL OR frost seed. Can you seed later, different times, absolutely. I seed in February as seed coat is hard and needs break down from freezing & thawing. Not the case with fluffies. Seed higher rates if broadcast. I personally like seeing at a higher rate as I want it THICK and to dominate if I do Monoculture switchgrass areas. For example, drilling, I'll do 6-10 lbs CIR and 2-4 lbs of Kanlow (high rates for both will be incredibly thick and higher rate than recommended).

    CLEAN SEEDBED IS NEEDED FOR HERBICIDES!!!, cleaner the better. ATRAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Needs soil to attach to and the more the better. Legal limits for your location. I know 5 quarts to acre would be exceptional & IDEAL but most states only allow 2.2 quarts. This is due to corn farmers spraying thousands of acres bi-yearly. IMO - one time of atrazine on tiny bit of switchgrass established- non-issue BUT the law is what it is.

    BEST CASE: you come out of CUT BEANS, weed free..... Seed in February, March..... In april to may you spray Gly with heaviest amount of Atrazine you can.... If you don't have flush of weeds or able to spray one more time before germination of switch...... August you'll notice nice growth, September you could and I've seen it countless times - could have 5-6' tall switch (thinner, no doubt, young plant) with actual seed heads! That's IDEAL. Ideal would be 2 sprayings in spring, Gly or Liberty + heavy atrazine & personally, if early, I like to add a little DUAL II MAGNUM (Metolachlor) to keep on grasses and know that it will be long gone by time switch is up. other options to add: 2,4-d, 2 oz of Plateau/Panoramic or any shorter acting residual that can be sprayed in April/May that will be gone in 30-40 days. We want ATRAZINE to stay as long as possible. If flush of weeds, say FOXTAIL (most likely)...... 1) Mow as needed 2) spray Atrazine + crop oil + Quinclorac. If the switch is grown "tall", let's say 12" or taller, add 2,4-d.
    Switch sounds complicated BUT if you take the right steps, understand herbicides, how they work, understand when switch germinates - it's actually reasonably easy. It's not that complicated in all honesty. Preparation is KEY. FALL is time to get to work.... GET THAT SEED BED CLEAN!
     

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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  3. arm

    arm Leg

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    Half my place is bottom, awesome soil. One smaller area of straight reeds canary and a few places where it would take over if not addressed. I've been on the fence about switch for 3 years now because of the reeds canary. Folks selling the seed say to just do it. Folks familiar with the invasive say no. To me, a failed attempt is a lot of money. I've been slowly incorporating food plots into the bottom to see how bad the seed bed is but too early to tell. I've either avoided a disaster or swindled 3 years. I want some switch, somewhere, eventually. Thoughts anyone?
     
  4. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Can be done. Unless it literally stays underwater for longer periods. I'd go with 5 lbs Kanlow, 5 lbs CIR per acre. COST....... Do 1-2 acres as your trial. See how it goes. Here's how this is gonna work though...... You likely are a year behind...... Start mowing late summer.... FRY, FRY AGAIN in fall. Spring, FRY AGAIN! lots of heavy post emergents and atrazine. RCG is hard to kill. It can be killed. your switch will fill in if you get the spot DEAD & CLEAN! and if it doesn't flood too bad. ATRAZINE on deader than dead ground. Switch will fill it in and take over. You will want to burn this every few years. If successful after trying a couple acres - I think you're good to convert it. Kill the RCG deader than dead and do switch right, burn as needed, you will convert it.
     
  5. arm

    arm Leg

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    Good thing is that it doesn't flood. Some wet spots that I won't take a tractor through in the spring but great food plots. Best guess is that it came upstream somewhere, grabbed on and just spread like it does best. A trial spit here and there can work. I hope a LITTLE standing water won't hurt
     
  6. Red

    Red New Member

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    Do you have any experience with Blackwell? Trying to decide what to overseed with, into a Mix of big blue, little blue, indian, Gama/ Forbs which was planted a year ago.
     
  7. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Blackwell is fine. Almost splitting hairs. Won’t get quite as tall & thick & doesn’t do as well on bottoms. Be just fine though.
    If u wanna mess around... get some sunburst & kanlow switch for diversity.
     
  8. Jbohn

    Jbohn PMA Member

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    Just Mowed an area over run with Foxtail , adding a little more (CIR) seed should be good to go this year. Going hit with atrazine again.. I tell ya this little Brillion may not be a drill but it does awesome with switch grass , turnips clover and so on have even done the cereal Mix and had it work.. Love this thing..

    [​IMG]
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  9. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Brillion is a fantastic implement for small hard seed. Excellent choice!!
    Ur switch looks great! Lil cleanup, spray and interseeding and u got a heck of a field there. Really nice!
     
  10. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    Switchgrass and other NWSGs have been the biggest habitat addition we've made on our farm. Generally in 2 years you have a wildlife paradise with this stuff! Here's an example I was showing some people the other day comparing brome to switch... pretty big difference, especially in winter with some snow

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    You can but each time we've tried to kill brome in April it's been minimal success. It appears it's all "dead" for the first two months, maybe even the first year it is set back, but a couple years down the road it's coming back strong and begins to choke out the switchgrass. That's when late spring burns and some light spring doses of OustXP or SpyderXP help to knock the brome back again. This is if you're trying to convert a brome/fescue/cool season grass field into switchgrass that is. If it was old bean or corn stubble then spraying a pre-emerge like atrazine in the spring will work great for you!

    This particular plot was Nebraska 28, I believe we got it from our local PF chapter. The rest of the switch we've ever planted on the farm was Cave-in-rock. Get's taller than the NE28. Both still provide amazing cover though.

    This is some of the CIR switch we've established on the farm. Amazing cover. This is a picture of the head high CIR is a 3 year old stand - it produces some awesome cover really quickly. We burned it for the first time last spring... it's HOT as you can imagine
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    The above picture didn't show the height of the CIR well since I was standing on top of a terrace when I took it. So I went back a few weeks later and snapped this picture, it's all eye level, 5-6ft tall.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Any Time fellas. Frost seed into early March ideally. Go get em!
    Cir, kanlow & sunburst my 3 favs.
     
  12. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I love seeing dbltree’s pics in here now at the BEGINNING!!! Wow. I just skimmed through 1st 5-6 pages- so fantastic!!!!
    I think I started on major native grass addiction 10-12 years ago and it took me a few years to go from “beginner” to almost “have it figured out”. Wow - it’s incredible how much info I’ve digested from Dbltree. (And how totally in the dark I was before finding this source, working with him & learning from him). I re-read dbltree’s 1st info sure re-educates me and also reminds me the learning never ends. Go get ur seed out any day now!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  13. Central Iowa

    Central Iowa Administrator

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    No kidding and totally agree, I can’t imagine how much time he gave to others. Seemed like I was on the phone with him all the time! Miss the old boy!


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  14. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    FYI..... Post emergent control herbicides in native grasses. Addresses many common weeds.

    Certainty herbicide or Outrider Herbicide
    Generic name: SULFOSOLFURON. Label:
    http://natseed.com/pdf/Certainty Herbicide_Label.pdf

    After switchgrass has some “substantial growth” (3 leafs & id personally want a foot tall) - you can manage broadleafs with 2,4-D.
    QUINCLORAC, atrazine & crop oil can also be used Post Emergent on a variety of things including: crabgrass, foxtail, etc. those are tough things to battle but it’s another tool. Mowing is yet another option if issues.
    Atrazine will be your #1 friend in establishment if you get things killed in the beginning & get good soil contact.
     
  15. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    Worked on restoring some CRP buffer ground this weekend that previous landowners let go to crap. It has some big blue in it yet but not much. Some reed canary grass, pampas grass, and lots of foxtail. Burnt it off Sunday morning and seeded switch a few hours later.

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    Not the ideal situation, would rather have killed the reed canary and pampas last fall but you work with what you got! Plans are to spray this area once in April to kill any green growth and get some premerge down. Then mow as necessary after that. I’ll post updates as the summer goes on


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  16. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    What do you can your billion implement if a guy was to look around to buy one. I would like one of those.
     
  17. Jbohn

    Jbohn PMA Member

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    I paid $2800.00 dollars for it Id say about 5 years ago. It took me about 1.5 years to actually find the one I wanted .. This has 2 boxes small seed and grass box..
     
  18. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Switchgrass kind of day. Prepped and planted about 6 acres and shot a quick vid.

     
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  19. arm

    arm Leg

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    My local switch seed dealer is selling and suggesting panoramic for my pre-emergence herbicide. This looks to be a generic Plateau or imazapyr. Will this be fine in place of atrazine?


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  20. Jbohn

    Jbohn PMA Member

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    Read back through, Say's you can use up to 4oz of Plateau on a new planting. I have used Panoramic on a second year stand . it cleaned it up but it did stun the CIR. I would personally uses Atrazine if you got a good kill in the fall you will be fine.. I personally would not use it on a new stand.
     
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  21. arm

    arm Leg

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    10-4. Why do you guys know more than the guys that do this for a living?


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