Ethanol use in California is expected to rise to 1.62 billion gallons per year in 2012, more than 90% of which will be trucked or shipped into the state. Switchgrass, a nonnative grass common in other states, has been identified as a possible high-yielding biomass crop for the production of cellulosic ethanol. The productivity of the two main ecotypes of switchgrass, lowland and upland, was evaluated under irrigated conditions across four diverse California ecozones — from Tulelake in the cool north to warm Imperial Valley in the south. In the first full year of production, the lowland varieties yielded up to 17 tons per acre of biomass, roughly double the biomass yields of California rice or maize. The yield response to nitrogen fertilization was statistically insignificant in the first year of production, except for in the Central Valley plots that were harvested twice a year. The biomass yields in our study indicate that switchgrass is a promising biofuel crop for California.