Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane

Site Selection

  • Avoid planting sugarcane along the edges of high-traffic sidewalks or pathways
  • A well-drained, sunny location is desirable
  • Periods of stress – such as too much or too little moisture, extended periods with temperatures below 70⁰F, and soil fertility and pH extremes (optimum range being pH 5.5-6.5) – will result in shorter inter-nodes and reduced growth
  • Soil should be thoroughly tilled and well worked in the area under as well as surrounding the seed-piece planting site
  • During the first three weeks after planting, flooded conditions can kill germinating buds and new shoots, so make sure good drainage is available if conditions require it.


  • Can be planted as a single row or in multiple, parallel rows with a distance of 4 – 10 feet between the rows.
  • In loam or clay-loam soils, dig a furrow 3-7 inches in depth.
  • Dig a slightly deeper furor in sand or in highly organic soils.


Formation of the Stool

  • As the new shoot grows, buds form at each stalk joint (node), with buds on adjacent nodes located on opposite sides of the stalks.
  • After several weeks, these newly formed buds (still located 3-7 inches underground) will sprout, forming secondary shoots.
  • Sugarcane is a multi-year crop, and the harvest stool is the site for next year’s re-growth.
  • New primary shoots emerge each year from the basal (bottom or lower) buds on stools that remain from last year’s growth.
  • Replant every 5-10 years for good rationing varieties.

Pest Management

Chemical control of insects is NOT recommended

  • Weeds are controlled by hand weeding, cultivation, mulching or chemical control
  • Disinfecting garden tools and harvesting equipment should be followed to avoid the spread of common plant diseases
  • Rodents and rabbits are often the most serious pest that sugarcane encounters.


  • Sugarcane should be ready to harvest 12-16 months are planting
  • Using a sharp knife or looping shears, cut the mature talks as close to the ground as possible
  • Trim off green upper portion of the stalk that lacks sugar-accumulating nodes.
  • Either squeeze/crush the stalks for juice collection or cut the stalks into smaller pieces for chewing


  • Place a small mound of soil over the row for protection against excessively cold weather
  • Re-growth in the spring, called the stubble or ratoon crop, will emerge through the soil in 1-3 months in response to warmer soil temperatures