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Energy plant encyclopedia

All about Miscanthus giganteus

Speaking on the species of the genus of Miscanthus (also: elephant grass or Chinese reed, Chinese grass), we usually mean  very fast-growing, winterhardy, deciduous bunch grasses (no bothering offshoots like bamboo).

Along with ornamental varieties of miscanthus, the prevailing sort in agriculture or in the area of renewable energy is Miscanthus (sinensis) x giganteus that we would like to introduce to you in more details in the following Miscanthus Newsletter and in further information!

Care and Plat Protection of Miscanthus / Chinese Grass

In the first year, the weed control, along with the quality and freshness of rhizomes, is the critical factor for the success of planting. After the second year, about 30% of the full potential output can be harvested. In the third year, the first full harvest is available, and, starting from this date, the small […]

Chinese Grass Lodging (Falling / Breaking)

This happens if snow falls too early, i.e. when leaves have not been fallen yet. In plants that are still young, the stalks can rise again after thaw, but in older plants, the stalks break at about 40−50 cm above the ground. In strongly lodging stalks, leaves cannot fall anymore. During chopping, a significant amount […]

Commercialization of Miscanthus

The diversity of elephant grass also reflects, first of all, the almost unlimited opportunities to commercialize miscanthus. Every gardener knows about bark mulch. Some of them like it, some of them just cannot stand its smell. In this case, miscanthus is a favorable, domestic, and, as a bonus, very attractive substitution for conventional bark mulch. […]

Cultivating Miscanthus

Preparations for Miscanthus cultivation To prepare the field for planting, you should plow it at least 20 cm deeply in autumn. It is important to ensure that no large organic masses comes from pre-culture, because the released nitrogen delays ripening in autumn. Annual Miscanthus plants start storing nutrients in the rhizomes very late in autumn, […]

Elephant grass

In the opinion of some people, elephant grass is a misguided notion, but it has been established in agriculture for Miscanthus x giganteus. However, Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), the “real” elephant grass that is cultivated mainly in Africa, has nothing to do with this species. When we speak about elephant grass that has been cultivated in Europe for some […]

Elephant grass litter

In recent years, elephant grass has made its name as a litter, especially among horse owners. However, for small animals, the untreated chopped material may be a very reasonable alternative to wood chips in small packages. The independence of acquisitions, because you can produce your litter easily and inexpensively by yourselves, is also an argument […]

Elephant grass rhizomes

(See also Miscanthus rhizomes, rhizomes) This a bit cumbersome term of “rhizome” can also be translated as “a piece of root”, “undercuts”, or “root cuttings”. It involves thickened roots of perennial grasses, such as elephant grass, which can be used for the propagation of this plant. Simply, such a propagation via rhizomes can be described as follows: Excavating a 2-4-year-old elephant grass-stick Such a […]

Fertilizing Miscanthus / Elephant Grass

Since, starting in mid-September, the large part of the nutrients consumed and the assimilants formed re-locates to rhizomes, only minor amounts of any fertilizers will settle out. The leaves fallen stay in the field as a mulch layer. Due to no seed/fruit formation, the need for nutrients is significantly lower than in comparable arable crops. […]

Harvest of Elephant Grass / Miscanthus

Dates and methods should be chosen before using or realizing the harvest! The normal period of harvesting is the span from November to early May, April is usually the ideal one. One week of sunshine is necessary before harvesting starts. The water content should be as low as possible (10−20 %), since a higher humidity […]

Heat elephant grass

If you want to heat with elephant grass, there are some more technical challenges. However, if you meet the most important parameters, such as moving grate, special stainless coating of the combustion chamber (Nirosta), and large storage spaces, then you can readily heat with elephant grass. In Austria, there is now a number of boiler manufacturers that can be heated […]

© - Reinhard Sperr (2008 – 2017)