Discussion in 'Deer Management, Habitat & Conservation' started by starbux, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. starbux

    starbux Well-Known Member

    I have a small plot in the woods (about 1/2 to 1 acre) that I want to plant in switchgrass. I believe it is switchgrass anyhow. Basically, I want the stuff that gets about 6 ft. high for cover.

    Anywho, will this stuff grow in a clearing and if so, how and when do I plant it?
  2. Hayzer

    Hayzer New Member

    I bet what you're looking for is Big Bluestem. I'll attempt to help you but as soon as Henry sees this thread he can probably give you better information.
    It's usually planted at the rate of 10-12 pounds/acre. Seed from April 15- May 30
    Soil pH 5.4 6.2. Plant 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

  3. henry

    henry Fan Boy aka Mr Twisty and

    I'm not sure how the switch grass will do with limited sunlight. Switch grass and big blue stem are 2 of the taller varieties of warm season grass. For an experimental plot like that,,the big blue stem is alittle cheaper to buy. It is'nt quite as durable in the standability department,,but in an area with a wind shelter like the trees should provide, it might not be an issue. Hayze is right on the soil ph,,it is'nt nearly as critical with wsg as most other grasses and legumes. Be prepared to mix your seed with sand or floor dry if your going to broadcast it,,,,wsg seed is like feathers. You can find debearded seed at a premium price,,but it is tiny with all the fluff gone off of it. The up side is,,if your looking for bedding cover that deer really like your on the right track. We have a couple of old foodplots that we cleared in cedar groves, that the volunteer little blue stem took over,,,the deer really use them heavy for bedding cover.

  4. mobiggerbucks

    mobiggerbucks New Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    lake of the ozarks
    If you are not sure what it is you want but you know what it looks like , go to google images and type in " switch grass "

    TOBRYAN Well-Known Member

    Dec 4, 2002
    Liberty, Mo
    I had my big bluestem mixed with some p and k fertilizer to help broadcast the fluffy seed.
    If you can drill it with a special truax no till drill and spray you will have a stand by the end of the summer.
    If you can, spray a roundup, plateau herbicide mix to combat weeds. The stand wont be much until next year, it takes a while for those wsg. Control the weeds by mowing at a 12 in height.

    These are my opinions and have seen what the neighbor did and I didnt!
  6. starbux

    starbux Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. It's just an experimental plot that I want to put in the front of the woods where there's a natural opening and the deer just don't go during the daylight hours because it's too open. I'll probably just buy extra and seed it heavy by hand since it's relatively small. If it works with partial shade, I have other areas I can do as well. This year, the other spots are going in corn for cover and food. That stuff above is just what I need....now if I can just get it to grow!
  7. mrb

    mrb New Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Moberly, Mo
    staxbux, how did this turn out for ya????????????
  8. HabitatMD

    HabitatMD Active Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    St. Louis, Mo
    I'v heard you can take the chopping blades off of the backpack blower and blow the seed around (the stuff with beards). Also, some NRCS offices and QU chapters have Truax ATV spreaders and handspreaders that are made for NWSG seed. Big Blue, as Henry stated will tend to fall over a bit more (in snows for example) than Switch. There are different subspecies of switchgrass that have different heights. Not real sure about subspecies of big blue. Definitely use a carrier if you are going to broadcast big bluestem, fertilizer, lime, wet sawdust will work. Also, NRCS offices rent no-till drills for $8-10/acre. Biggest advise is..do not plant it too deep if you use a drill. You should see 25% of the seed on the soil surface. Switchgrass does not have a beard, it is just a small seed that you may be able to use a regular spreader or drill. If you want switch, I would be tempted to get a small hand spreader, put in the right amount of seed, and go to town from now until say early March.

    Just found a good link for you, however, it doesn't address dormant seeding. Also, stay away from atrazine if you can. Been know to contaminate water and it doesn't break down.

  9. letemgrow

    letemgrow Well-Known Member

    J&J seed in Gallatin sells de-bearded big blue, indian etc. I have purchased this seed from them and it is much easier to spread that way and they are real reasonable with their prices.

    The NWSG grass will most likely spend it's first year sending the roots deep into the soil 6 feet or more. The next year you should start to see it really shooting up if properly maintained. One way it to keep the height to about 8 inches with a mower so the weeds don't take over the first year.

    I have had good luck with spraying in august or discing then and broadcasting the seed in the fall to let the freezing and thawing work it into the soil, bu the best option would be a no-till drill with the proper agitator and equipment for NWSG.