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Native Warm Season Grass

sandbur

5 year old buck +
Jerry-keep us updated on what works best.

What type of switch grass are you favoring at this point?
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
Jerry-keep us updated on what works best.

What type of switch grass are you favoring at this point?

Right now I am not looking to add a different switchgrass. This might change as I get closer to my replant date. I am more impressed with the short grass mixes which appear to grow to their expected height on poorer soils. When I say short grass keep in mind some are still 4' tall and I would add them to probably Indian and Big-Blue to get my planting thicker. I plan to weigh my observations with what is recommended to me and go from there.

I am planning on doing some testing of different grasses by just broadcasting seed into exsisting grasses on poorer soils and then observing how they perform. I know I won't get a good germination percentage but if it helps me identify what works and what doesnt that will be worthwhile. I'm planning on broadcast a few different varieties in November this year.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
I spoke with Milborn seed today about planting a mix on poor and dryer soils. They recommended the short grass mix and also recommended adding extra cool season grasses as they capture the spring and fall rains and will grow to their potential and then go dormant during the hot summer. They recommend this mix allot in western Dakotas and eastern Montana.

Grasses he recommended include:

Sideoats Grama
Little Bluestem
Western Wheatgrass
Slender Wheatgrass
 

Bill

Administrator
Thanks for posting Paul. Wouldn't have an acre of of switch with out your guidance. Now we're up to 40. Should be 80 but Mother Nature on hill ground and me screwing up has led to some failure.

Mistakes make you smarter right. :)
 

MN Slick

5 year old buck +
Bill, do the deer bed in your WSG in North MO?
 

Bill

Administrator
Bill, do the deer bed in your WSG in North MO?

Yes and no. I have 6 acres of big blue and Indian grass. The deer seem to avoid it as it is so hard to walk through. The only time I've ever seen deer in it was once when a buck was holding a hot doe in it.

The switchgrass does get bedding use but honestly I don't when just know when I go through it in late winter there are beds in there.

Back to the cedars though. If you show me a cedar tree on a south hillside in switchgrass in N MO I guarantee you find a bed under it.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
I've made then my share of mistake's Bill, that is what prompted me to help others to help them not make the mistake's I did (not just talking about habitat either )

I agree about red cedars, switchgrass and sun on a winter morning ;)

"deer" do not often use NWSG, 99% of the time it's 3 year old and older bucks. Think about how rare 4-5 year old bucks are in any given area and it puts a different perspective on this whole subject. How often do any of you see a true mature whitetail buck? If you rarely if ever see one, don't expect your NWSG to be full of bed's.
Mature whitetail bucks desire solitude, they can't find that in mature, wide open timber so we hinge cut or manage forests in such a way that it becomes thick and brushy. NWSG creates the same environment where habitat is thick, deer and predators avoid it and he can put two jumps between a startled hunter and safety. Don't see mature bucks? Then create the kind of habitat they like and give them time to grow old ;)
 

MN Slick

5 year old buck +
Thanks guys, it will be interesting to see how things develop as my WSG takes hold. I have 6 small islands of trees/brush within 28 acres of newly planted WSG on a south facing hillside so my anticipation of increased bedding use is high. The south sides of the tree islands seem like a good place for a matoor buck to bed on days with north winds. Wind over his back, good visibility down wind, a sea of tall grass around him and food to the south. Sounds great on paper......
 
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dipper

Guest
I've been thinking about the same thing as I plan on designing trees in a grass stand. i can imagine planting pockets of trees and shrubs and simply cutting around them for a burn. Or not burning at all. There appears to be multiple maintence techniques.
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
I like the idea of red cedars along with the native grasses. The pic below shows an internal fence row at my place where I am killing all the trees that come up except for the red cedars. This fence row has tall native grasses on each side of it. In the distance you can see some larger trees. There is a good thicket here with an old pond in the middle. That place is already a really good fall bedding spot and I hope the fence row just becomes an extension of it when the cedars get more mature.

Cedars grow fairly fast when they come up volunteer. I would guess these at around 6 - 8 years old - maybe more, I can't say for sure.

 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
If a guy chooses to do nothing, and does not burn the switch, and lets the switch do its own thing. What, can happen that is really that bad?

Mo, that is the question I am trying to answer right now. I'm into 5 years without burning and doing okay so far. I mow when I think I need to and do some spot spraying at places I think it is needed. Ask me that question in 5 more years, and I might be able to give a better answer.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
Mowing will usually suffice when burning is not an option, mid to late May work's best here 1
 
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dipper

Guest
Heard a lighter discing is good too. That would also create a barrier around your trees if you burn. If all the grass is knocked down around the trees the fire shouldn't hurt them. I would also bet cutting the grass around the trees would keep them alive.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
October 3rd, 2014

Fred sent me an update on his new switchgrass seeding and folks for a 1st year seeding this is as good as it gets! Note firebreak



Fred started last summer /fall by mowing the CSG (cool season grass), allowing it to regrow then spraying early fall. He used 2 quarts glyphosate and 1 ounce per acre of Oust XP /SFM75 (Keystone Pest Solution )

He dormant seeded the seed mid winter (December- March at 6-10# pls per acre )

Fred followed up with a spring spraying of glyphosate and 2 quarts of atrazine per acre.



All he had to do then was let it grow! CRP contracts require seeding with a diverse mix of native prairie grasses and forbs which is great, however it is expensive and slow to establish unless a herbicide tolerant seed mix is used.
Switchgrass sown as single species is affordable, easy to establish and quick to mature if preparation work is done as Fred did. This makes it a great way to quickly establish cover on fields not eligible for CRP. Small pocket's of open land may be better converted to cover via tree plantings but for fields 5 acres and up switchgrass may be right for you ;)
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
1
Mowing will usually suffice when burning is not an option, mid to late May work's best here 1

When it comes to mowing CRP do you use a Flail Mower or a Rotary Cutter? I will need a mower for my CRP and have been reading other sites where Flail Mowers are getting much better reviews then Rotary cutters for prairie grass. What have you experienced?
 

j-bird

Moderator
I was pretty happy with mine this year (first full growing season) with switchgrass actual grass at 4' tall and seed heads reaching to 6' - we didn't really have a hot or humid summer either. The switchgrass actually started to mature before we actually hit a high temp of 90 degrees (Aug 25th - we normally get 90's in June). The indian and big bluestem didn't do as well, but I hear they take a little longer. I am really looking forward to next year and plan to expand my NWSG as well. The deer have really taken to the areas of CRP where I added the grass component vs just the native weeds. My CRP is only in 120' wide strips however between timber and my ag fields so they act as a nice buffer.


This is what mine looked like at the end of july this year. The "stick" is 48" tall.
switch.jpg
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
Looks great J! Thanks for posting :)
 
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Dbltree

Guest
When it comes to mowing CRP do you use a Flail Mower or a Rotary Cutter? I will need a mower for my CRP and have been reading other sites where Flail Mowers are getting much better reviews then Rotary cutters for prairie grass. What have you experienced?
We use rotary batwings, they work great but flail mowers may better albeit more expensive. There are difference's between for certain but I'm not sure what the advantage would be in prairie grass? Flail mowers give a "finished" look while rotary mowers can handle brush, stumps and rocks.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
1

Mo, that is the question I am trying to answer right now. I'm into 5 years without burning and doing okay so far. I mow when I think I need to and do some spot spraying at places I think it is needed. Ask me that question in 5 more years, and I might be able to give a better answer.
What happens if you leave NWSG go with out burning or mowing??

In Iowa goldenrod and other invasives will completely overtake a stand of prairie grass in 5 years.

The heavy soils grow tremendously thick, dense stands and the straw each year soon covers the ground and chokes the stand.

If you don't encounter these problems, invasives don't appear, the stand stays thick and tall then I wouldn't worry about burning ;)
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
Looks great! Timing of your burn should be perfect 1
 
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