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Ornamental Grasses Improve Your Lawn

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

If you're looking for some attractive and low-maintenance grasses that will round out your lawn, here are some that might suit your purposes nicely. Not only will they look good, but they'll survive the harshest hot or cold conditions anywhere in the nation.

Ornamental grasses are true marvels of nature. First, they come in varying heights, colors, and textures that will match any existing lawn design. They can also be used to control bouts of erosion that are typical in rainy parts of the country. Finally, these grasses adapt to even the poorest soil conditions, which means less maintenance and upkeep for you.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Grasses for Drier Climates

  • Tall Grasses. The grasses in this category include big bluestem, switch grass, and Indian grass. They grow between five and six feet tall and can survive on an average of 25 to 30 inches of rainfall per year.
  • Mixed Grass. These grasses include little bluestem, Western wheatgrass, June grass, and needle grass. Grasses in this category can survive on 18 to 24 inches of rainfall a year.
  • Short Grass. Buffalo grass and blue grama grasses grow well in dry regions with an average annual rainfall of 10 to 15 inches.
 

Grasses for Wetter Climates

  • American Grasses. This category includes the most common switch grass that flourishes in semi-arid climates.
  • Asian Grasses. Japanese silver grass, Miscanthus, and Morning Light are rapidly gaining in popularity due to their aesthetic beauty and ease of care.
  • Other Notables. Northern Lights tufted hairgrass, feather reed grass, Northern sea oats, tufted hair grass and Korean feather reed grass are all popular choices for their tolerance to shade and excessive moisture.
 

Proper Care Techniques

Most of these grasses should be positioned to catch the rays of morning or evening light, but grow best in three to five hours of direct sun each day. Mulching promotes the best growth for most types, but should be cut back before the arrival of spring. The annual grasses are best grown from seed. Should insects infest the blades, a strong blast of water should rid them of invaders.


About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.



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