Alamo Switchgrass

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alamo switch grass

Short Description

'Alamo', a lowland switchgrass, is a warm-season perennial bunchgrass native to the United States. 'Alamo' is best adapted to the Southern one-half of the U.S. and is used for hay, pasture, soil conservation, wildlife cover, and in recent years, the biofuel industry.


'Alamo' was originally collected in far south-central Texas on the banks of the Frio River near George West. The Plant Materials Center near Knox City, Texas selected and released 'Alamo' as an improved variety based on superior forage yield, seed production, and improved seedling vigor. In contrast to 'Kanlow', 'Alamo' is primarily adapted to regions south of I-70 which intersects Kansas east to west.  'Alamo' performs best in areas of 25 inches of annual precipitation or when planted in low lying areas in arid climates. 'Alamo' matures approximately 2 weeks later than 'Kanlow'. 'Alamo', with good moisture and soil fertility, can reach heights up to 10 feet and produce in excess in of 7 tons of biomass annually.  'Alamo' performs well on a wide range of soils from clay to very fine sand.  Recommended seeding rates range from 4 to 6 Pure Live Seed pounds per acre.

Taxonomy of 'Alamo' Switchgrass

Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheobionta
Superdivision Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Lillosida
Subclass Commelinidae
Order Poaceae
Family Cyperales
Genus Panicum
Species Panicum virgatum L.

Plant Characteristics of 'Alamo' Switchgrass

 Height         36 to 120 inches 
 Growth habit  bunchgrass 
 Bloom period  mid to late summer  
 Sun requirement   full sun 
 Leaf foilage color    green
 Seeds per pound     426,000 seeds per pound       
 Minimum soil temperature for germination   60ºF
 Soil pH range   4.5 to 8.0 
 Planting Rate    4 to 6 PLS lbs per acre  
 Planting Depth   ¼ inch
 Planting season  spring to early summer

Uses of 'Alamo' Switchgrass


Switchgrass forage quality is best when harvested or grazed prior to seedhead development. Switchgrass can produce substantial tonnage when managed properly with good fertility and timely cutting.


'Alamo' makes excellent nesting cover for upland gamebirds and provides refuge from predators.

Prairie Restoration

'Alamo' is used in mixes for the restoration of native areas.

Soil Stabilization

'Alamo' is used extensively in soil conservation projects in the southern U.S. especially in low lying wet areas such as streambanks and waterways.


'Alamo' and other lowland types like 'Cimarron' and 'Kanlow' have been extensively tested for potential biofuel grasses.

Switchgrass Seedling and Growth Guide

8 days after planting

18 days after planting                                                             28 days after planting

34 days after planting                                                                 65 days after planting