RFI - Planting a Large Amount of Grass Seed

Trey44April 20, 2012

Hello,

Recently, the government has taken some of my family's farm via eminent domain and built a road througth it. Needless to say it has been a very traumatic experience. We are trying to block it off as much as possible. My plan is to plant a few hundred trees.

Recently, an idea came to mind. I want to plant a swath of tall grass in front of where I will plant trees, as a cost effective cover.

My plan is to till a strip about 6-10ft wide and sow grass seed. After some research I have found that a switchass (Panicum virgatum) may be my best choice. The only other options I have come up with is Big Bluestem or Indian Grass.

The area is in full sun, and is relatively dry during the hot summer months. I have a lot of experience with trees and vegetable gardenin but do not know much about grasses, so any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

-Trey

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Nick4Natives(5b)

That actually sounds like a pretty good plan. Before you till it up though you may want to kill off whatever is there now with glyphosate. Grasses take time to develop in sive and giving them the least amount of competition with really speed up their growth. Once established you will never really have to worry about weed control. That being said, expect to wait a few years for your grasses to mature. I have planted all of the grasses you've mentioned from seed and they all took about 3 years to reach their full size.

Switchgrass is a good choice for dry soil and it stands up very well through winter. It does not grow as tall as Indian Grass of Big Bluestem though. Have you considered planting all three? Seed is cheap. I'm guessing you could get a pound of each for about $45 total. By doing this you can also let the soil decide which grass is best suited for it.

If you really want to get a head start of your wall of grass you should consider digging up some mature grass plants, cutting them into quarters, and transplanting them to your area. It's simple to do and you will have some instant gratification at least. You can only do this in the Spring, so if you like the idea don't wait too long.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Trey44

Wow! Thanks for all the great advice.

After talking with a few other people they suggested to mix several species as well. I have already ordered 5 lbs of Switchgrass and 5 lbs of Canada Wild Rye Grass. I am considering adding in Big Blue Stem as well.

Also, I think I kill whatever is there first to give the grass an advantage. Luckily it goes througth a farm field, and there are not many weeds to begin.

Thanks again.

-Trey

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:23AM
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