Switch Grass

Switch Grass

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Panicum virgatum, known as switchgrass, is a tall-growing, warm-season, perennial grass that is native to much of the United States.  Other names for switchgrass include tall panic grass, Wobsqua grass, blackbent, tall prairiegrass, wild redtop, thatchgrass, and Virginia switchgrass.  This grass is used primarily for soil conservation, game cover or an ornamental grass.  Its upright growth offers a cover and protection for wildlife.  It breaks dormancy in April, but its main growth periods are June, July and August.  This grass does best in full sun but can tolerate some shade; switchgrass thrives in average, medium to wet soils and tolerates a wide range of soils, including dry ones; prefers moist, sandy or clay soils. 

A clump forming grass with open lacy sprays of small seeds, switchgrass provides texture and color, even in the fall and into the winter.  The grass should be cut back to the ground in late fall or early spring.  Use as an accent plant, in group or masses, beside ponds or as perennial borders.  Combine switchgrass with other grasses to add interesting texture to your landscape, such as Blues Little Bluestem Grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) or Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus).