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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Hanson, Jonathan
item Johnson, Holly

Submitted to: Seed Technology Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/2004
Publication Date: 12/20/2005
Citation: Hanson, J.D., Johnson, H.A. 2005. Germination of switchgrass under different temperature and ph regimes. Seed Technology Journal, Vol. 27 (2), pp. 203-210.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass is a warm-season, perennial grass native to North America. It has a large range of distribution throughout the United States. The grass is capable of producing a tremendous amount to biomass under most of the climatic regions where is grows. Switchgrass has potential to be a profitable agricultural crop because it is productive on many diverse sites including marginal land and it can be managed using conventional equipment. As a result, switchgrass is important not only as a forage grass, but also as a bioenergy crop. Even though switchgrass is a resilient plant, large fluctuations exist in establishment success when new stands are initiated. This research was conducted to evaluate the interaction between temperature and pH on switchgrass seed germination for several different cultivars. We determined the optimal temperature for switchgrass seed germination was 25º C and the optimal pH was 6.0 for optimal germination, switchgrass should be planted in tepid soils with a range of pH from 5 to 8. Seeding switchgrass under conditions outside these values may result in stand failure.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a native prairie grass, is being developed into a biomass energy crop. The effect of temperature and pH on the germination success of switchgrass cultivars was investigated. Seeds of eight switchgrass cultivars were germinated at five temperatures and nine pH levels. The optimal temperature for germination was 25º C and optimal pH was 6.0. Germination was significantly reduced when pH was less than 5.0 and greater than 8.0. The interaction between pH and temperature provides strong management implications. For optimum germination, switchgrass should be planted in warm soils and with pH range of 5 to 8. These results indicate switchgrass establishment in soils with pH values outside this range may not be successful.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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