Thomas Voigt and Richard Pyter. Univ. of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin, Urbana, IL 61801
Burning biofuels, such as Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus x Giganteus) may provide a non-fossil fuel energy source. Giant Miscanthus is a C4 native to East Asia, grows to 4 m, and has a life expectancy of at least 15 – 20 years. It is characterized as a low input, low maintenance plant with high yields, little or no susceptibility to pests and diseases, and low moisture content at harvest. A disadvantage of Miscanthus x Giganteus is that it does not produce viable seed and must be propagated using micro-propagation or rhizome divisions. While both methods can be effective, plants produced from rhizome divisions have been more resistant to winter losses and While both methods can be effective, plants produced from rhizome division have been more resistant to winter losses and cheaper to produce. Our research has sought to identify optimum Giant Miscanthus rhizome size, planting depth, and winter storage conditions. Results of our first year studies will be presented.