Switchgrass stand establishment can be a challenge primarily because of its small seed and slow seedling growth. Seedlings cannot emerge from more than a half inch deep, and once up and growing, many weeds grow much faster than switchgrass. The primary goal is to establish a stand with at least 20 seedlings per square foot as quickly as possible. Critical factors affecting this include: weed control before planting, seedbed preparation, seed quality (including dormancy), time of planting, method of establishment, and seeding rate. Other factors that affect rapid seedling establishment include variety choice, use of companion crops, and post emergence weed control.
Switchgrass seed is small (2 to 3 mm or 1/10 of an
inch) and smooth. The small size makes establishment
difficult, but the smooth seed makes it easy to plant.