Next Generation Switchgrass Stands for Better Habitat

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Roger Samson (REP-Canada) discuss improved warm season grass varieties that are available to habitat managers.  Roger explains his experience and natural grasses. Roger goes over the history of Switchgrass and other varieties like Cave in Rock and Blackwell. Roger details the original focus of switchgrass and benefits of cattle, mining locations, reclamation, mulching, and biofuels.

Roger explains the evolution of switchgrass, prior switchgrass problems such as slow emergence, morphology, seedling vigor, etc. Roger worked to solve these issues, taking 30 years to establish a breeding program that created taller, erect, and quick emergence grasses. Roger and Jon discuss wildlife uses and the benefits to our soil, and soil habitat.

Roger explains the advanced developed varieties of switchgrass, RC Big Rock and RC Tecumseh, and the benefits compared to prior varieties. Roger explains the differences in physical characteristics and the purpose behind each, and what varieties would be adapted to specific site conditions (rain, heat, etc.).  Jon and Roger dialogue about developing plants that can stand taller, more erect, and withstand ice and snow loads.

Roger discusses new planting methods and a new variety of big bluestem variety that will soon be in the market. Roger details specifics on plant spacing and why solid seeding stands may not be the best option. Roger discusses options for planting that provides ideal spacing for ground birds (turkey).

Roger discusses the cost variances of switchgrass versus other options like miscanthus, specifically miscanthus giganteus. Roger explains the performance variances versus miscanthus and the morphology as compared to other non-native plants. Roger details all the benefits of switchgrass why these next generation varieties outcompete other grass types. Roger explains more on herbicides, combinations of plantings and frost seeding as an option.  

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