As is the case with other crops, the most important factors for a successful growth of the Miscanthus (elephant grass) are: sunshine, temperature and rainfall. A number of preconditions can be drawn up to take into account for successful planting!
Suitable soil for planting
Miscanthus is known to perform reasonably to very well on a variety of grounds, from sandy soils to clay soils. This is relatively tolerant with regard to the PH content of the soil, but there is an optimum pH of 5.5 to 7.5. Miscanthus is planted and harvested in the spring, so it is important that the plots are well passable. The dense rooting of Miscanthus will improve the carrying capacity of the soil after planting. This then ensures that the harvest with a maize chopper becomes possible.
The right temperature
In terms of cultivation area, the possibilities for Miscanthus differ, but of course photosynthesis will not take place in low temperatures. As a guideline, it can be assumed that the plant will be active from a temperature of 6 degrees Celsius. This is lower than the temperature of other C4 crops including corn, which makes the growing season of the crop longer. To allow the crop to develop strongly for the first winter after planting, it is possible to opt for early planting in the season. However, the risk of this is that at night frost after planting the new “shoots” can be damaged.
A good water supply
Miscanthus has a deep rooting and extensive root structure, with hair roots up to 2 meters deep. In addition, the crop also has a decent aboveground structure and a large leaf surface, which leads to a high perspiration rate. The availability of moisture is therefore a point of attention when determining the planting locations, sufficient rainfall and a moist soil are important. During the growing period, a precipitation of 700 – 900 mm is considered ideal. With less precipitation this will have a negative impact on the yields, 500 mm is seen as the minimum needed to enable growth. Prolonged dry periods can lead to pause of growth and possible leaf loss. However, when there is again rainfall or irrigation, the Miscanthus will resume its growth.