Why plant Audubon® Native Switchgrass?
A wildlife wonder-Fringe! Switch Grass is a must-have for your wildlife-friendly garden. This bountiful native feeds countless insects with its handsome foliage, including many species of butterflies, moths, leafhoppers, grasshoppers, aphids, and plant bugs. But don’t worry that these critters will devour your plants! Songbirds will come to the rescue and keep populations in check. Many birds, such as cardinals, juncos, sparrows, and Mourning Doves will also be grateful for Switch Grass’s nutritious seeds in fall. In rural areas, stands of Switch Grass make great winter cover for ducks and gamebirds. Invaluable!
Switch Grass is an American Fringe that is native to basically the whole country except for the West Coast states, Alaska, and Hawaii. It is most fondly associated with the midwestern tallgrass prairie, where it once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with perennial Sunflowers, Big Bluestem, and other prairie plants for miles in all directions. With a sturdy root system that could delve down 10 feet in the loamy prairie soil, it was very resistant to drought and could spring back to life after wildfires. Unstoppable! In modern prairie restorations, it is often burned every few years in spring to help spur lush new growth.
How to use Audubon® Native Switchgrass in the landscape?
It’s not just for the animals! Even if it didn’t provide so many benefits to birds and bugs, Switch Grass would be a wonderful addition to your landscape by virtue of its beauty. Standing firmly upright, it makes a statuesque column of fine foliage. The airy summer flowers and fall seedheads add a delicate touch.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Switchgrass
Switch Grass is bulletproof. Simply plant it in a sunny location in any type of soil and provide regular irrigation during the establishment period. Once it has put down roots, it will be fairly drought tolerant. Switch Grass is also tolerant of periodic flooding, making it a good component in a rain garden. Icy weather doesn’t faze it either—ice may flatten it temporarily, but as soon as it melts, this perky Fringe pops right back up again. In late winter or early spring, cut back the old growth with manual or electric hedge trimmers or a bow saw to clear the way for new growth. Be patient—Switch Grass is one of the last plants to emerge in spring.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.