Weeds for fuel ?

Recently published on greentech.iblog.co.za

No, I am not kidding you.   There’s a weed (well known in other parts of the world) that some day may solve all our fuel problems.  One way or the other, we in the civilized world have simply got to get off oil for fuel, and among the many solutions out there is a little-known grass called  Miscanthus x giganteus.  You can just call it “miscanthus” if you want to, but it has been around on this earth for a very long time.
Back in the colonial days when our forefathers were first forming this country of ours, miscanthus was used as a flower around the colonial homes.  It was hardy.  It had a lovely bloom.  It withstood harsh winters and I daresay, some ancestors of these colonial miscanthus can still be found near or around some of those lovely old colonial homes which are standing today and have been preserved as National Monuments.
However, ornamental grasses are no longer for the garden alone.  They have entered the world of renewable energy.   If you want to plant something innovative and easy to turn into biofuel, you can’t go wrong with miscanthus.
This hardy member of the ornamental grass family loves full sun; tolerates almost any kind of soil; is moderately drought tolerant; holds up well in wind and snow. Even in cold, snowy climates, the Giant Chinese silver grass strain of miscanthus remains upright throughout the winter.   It has one drawback, however, and that is – it needs lots of room to develop fully.  At maturity some plants grow well over six feet in height.
Plant the rhizomes only in late spring to early summer when the soil is warm, about the same time you plant your beans or corn.  If you plant in the fall, roots may not grow enough to withstand the cold and wet of winter and thus will not live.  Miscanthus rhizomes do not tolerate frost very well.  You can minimize frost damage by growing a cover crop over winter or spreading the harvested crop ground with hay to protect the rhizomes after you have harvested your crop.
If you are raising Miscanthus for biofuel production you will get a yield of ten to fifteen tons per acre.
Miscanthus is being used extensively in Europe and the British Isles as an energy producing crop.  If you know of any farmer who is raising miscanthus for a fuel crop, please let us know.  We’d like to interview him.  Or if you are raising miscanthus yourself, please let us know so we can write about your crop and your experience in growing it.
For more information about miscanthus, please refer to