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Panicum virgatum

Panicum virgatum

Panicum virgatum

A few of the many species of grass are known as panic grass. This plant doesn't have a stem and is actually a type of sedge. Panic grass grows only in North America and Europe, where the climate is a very wet one. Panic grass usually does not have rust or chlorosis, which are diseases that grasses that are not in wet climates suffer from. It adapts to a wet climate by living in water and needing sunlight to grow.Its flowers have a well-developed panicle, often up to 60 cm long, and it bears a good crop of seeds. The seeds are 3–6 mm long and up to 1.5 mm wide, and are developed from a single-flowered spikelet. Both glumes are present and well developed. When ripe, the seeds sometimes take on a pink or dull-purple tinge, and turn golden brown with the foliage of the plant in the fall. Switchgrass is both a perennial and self-seeding crop, which means farmers do not have to plant and reseed after annual harvesting. Once established, a switchgrass stand can survive for ten years or longer.

Plant

Switchgrass is a diverse species, with striking differences between plants. This diversity, which presumably reflects evolution and adaptation to new environments as the species spread across the continent, provides a range of valuable traits for breeding programs. Switchgrass has two distinct forms, or "cytotypes": the lowland cultivars, which tend to produce more biomass, and the upland cultivars, which are generally of more northern origin, more cold-tolerant, and therefore usually preferred in northern areas. Upland switchgrass types are generally shorter (≤ 2.4 m, tall) and less coarse than lowland types. Lowland cultivars may grow to ≥ 2.7 m, in favorable environments. Both upland and lowland cultivars are deeply rooted (> 1.8 m, in favorable soils) and have short rhizomes.The upland types tend to have more vigorous rhizomes, so the lowland cultivars may appear to have a bunchgrass habit, while the upland types tend to be more sod-forming.

Lowland cultivars appear more plastic in their morphology, produce larger plants if stands become thin or when planted in wide rows, and they seem to be more sensitive to moisture stress than upland cultivars.Switchgrass can be grown on land considered unsuitable for row crop production, including land that is too erodible for corn production, as well as sandy and gravelly soils in humid regions that typically produce low yields of other farm crops. No single method of establishing switchgrass can be suggested for all situations. The crop can be established both by no-till and conventional tillage. When seeded as part of a diverse mixture, planting guidelines for warm-season grass mixtures for conservation plantings should be followed. Regional guidelines for growing and managing switchgrass for bioenergy or conservation plantings are available. Several key factors can increase the likelihood of success for establishing switchgrass. These include: (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

 

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