Kanlow Switchgrass

buy kanlow switch grass seed

kanlow switch grass

Short Description

'Kanlow', a lowland-type switchgrass, is a warm-season perennial bunchgrass native to the United States. 'Kanlow' is very productive and commonly used for hay, pasture, soil conservation, wildlife, and a source for the biofuels industry.


'Kanlow' was developed and released by the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Crops Research Division, ARS/USDA.  Germplasm used in the development of 'Kanlow' was collected near Wetunka, OK in 1957. 'Kanlow' is well-adapted to wetland situations and tolerates inundation for extended periods of time. 'Kanlow' produces substantial dry matter by reaching heights to over 8 feet,  very course stems, and very leafy. 'Kanlow' is well adapted to a large region of central U.S. and although performs best on lowland soils, it persists and produces on marginal upland soils also.  'Kanlow' flowers earlier than both 'Alamo' and 'Cimarron' but is approximately two weeks later than 'Caddo', an upland type.

Taxonomy of 'Kanlow' 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 'Kanlow' 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     400,000 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 'Kanlow' Switchgrass


As with most switchgrass varieties, forage quality is substantially better when harvested or grazed prior to seedhead development.  Switchgrass can produce substantial tonnage when managed properly with good fertility and timely cutting.  Mature stands tend become very clumpy and may make harvest difficult if plant population is thin.


'Kanlow' is used extensively for gamebird habitat.  It makes excellent nesting cover and provides cover from predators.  Switchgrass plantings in general, make the best habitats for developing and maintaining of pheasant populations.

Prairie Restoration

'Kanlow' is quick to establish and persists very well in prairie settings.

Soil Stabilization

'Kanlow' is used extensively in soil conservation projects especially in low lying wet areas such as streambanks and waterways.


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