Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Native & amp; Invasive ornamental grasses | Earth Friendly Gardening

Native & amp; Invasive ornamental grasses | Earth Friendly Gardening

Landscaping and gardening with ornamental grasses is hot. Ornamental grasses provide home gardens with nesting sites, food, and cover for birds and other animals; Pleasing and unusual texture and dimensionality; And garden interest in all four seasons. Some varieties can be used to plant lawns that require less mowing and water.

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As their popularity grows, the invasive nature of some ornamental grasses is becoming a problem. If you're planting grasses this spring, try to find native, non-invasive varieties. It's amazing how often I see invasive plants, including grasses, at reputable nurseries. A lot of people probably do not care, but I tend to assume that a gardener who bothers to patronize the actual nursery instead of his or her local big-box gardening center actually cares about what's planting. Do not assume that just because "good" nursery carries a plant that is not invasive. Unfortunately it is not always so.

Do not forget that invasive is in the eye of the beholder; In other words, what is native and lovely in one growing zone might be invasive somewhere else. An example of this is the native grass river oats, Chasmathium latifolium ; There are many other examples as well. Do your research before you buy. A lot of nursery owners and workers that I've talked to do not know or do not have time to find out the answers. So I'd like a local extension agent, call your local Master Gardener hotline, or look it up on the Internet-but be sure to use a non-commercial source SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA such as a university with a cooperative extension / outreach program . Rick Fernandez's excellent volumes, The Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses and The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes are great resources as the venerable Bill Cullina's Native Ferns, Moss, and Grasses: From Emerald Carpet to Amber Wave, Serene and Sensuous Plants for the Garden .

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