Blackwell Switchgrass

Blackwell switchgrass is a warm-season, native, perennial species that was originally one of the major species of the Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem of the central United States. Blackwell switchgrass was originally collected on native prairie near Blackwell, Oklahoma. It produces a high level of biomass and is a prolific seed producer, giving it value as both a forage and soil stabilizing species. Switchgrass is a sod forming grass that is 3 to 5 feet tall and has deep (10 feet or more) roots.

Good pasture forage and hay for livestock and wildlife. Provides cover and food for upland game birds and small mammals.

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Description

Blackwell switchgrass is a native, warm season perennial bunchgrass that grows 3-5’ at maturity.  Switchgrass is found throughout Texas and it is an important component of native tallgrass prairies that historically occurred in the central and eastern portions of the state. It is considered one of the “big 4” native grass species of these sites.  Switchgrass is also common along riparian areas and river flood plains in all regions.  It is good forage for livestock, excellent wildlife cover, and produces seed eaten by many birds.  Switchgrass is a common component of range seeding mixes, CRP plantings, wildlife habitat restoration efforts, and forage plantings.

Blackwell switchgrass originates from a single plant collected from a native prairie near Blackwell, Oklahoma in 1934 that was increased and released by the USDA Soil Conservation Service and Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station in 1944. Blackwell is an upland, sod forming switchgrass that is less aggressive, smaller in stature, and not as stemmy as Alamo switchgrass.

Planting: Plant late spring-early summer at a rate of 1.5-2.5 pure live seed (PLS) per square foot at 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

Soil: Sandy to sandy loam

Height: 3-5 feet

Type: Warm Season Perennial

Region: Texas-wide

For more information:  Blackwell Switchgrass Brochure from USDA NRCS

Additional information

Season

Warm Season

Plant Type

Grass

Height

>5'

Wildlife

Deer, Quail, Turkeys