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David A. Fiske

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
2009 Field Day - August 5, 2009 Jul 10, 2009
Planting and Managing Switchgrass for Forage, Wildlife, and Conservation

Switchgrass is a tall-growing, warm-season, perennial grass that is native to much of the United States including Virginia. Switchgrass (SG) was widespread in open areas before settlers populated an area and remained in one place year after year. Their livestock were free roaming and would graze the new switchgrass growth in the spring before the new plants were tall enough to withstand defoliation. This mismanagement weakened the stands and eventually led to their demise. They were replaced by cool-season grasses introduced from other countries such as bluegrass, tall fescue, and orchardgrass. These cool-season grasses began growth much earlier in the spring so they could tolerate the early season grazing by cattle. As a result, the native warm-season grasses such as SG were destroyed and can now only be found growing wild in abandoned sites such as old cemeteries or roadways.

May 1, 2009 418-013