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Summer Thoughts Turn to Ornamental Grasses

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

If you're looking for an inexpensive and low-maintenance way to decorate your lawn, ornamental grasses are the perfect landscaping accessories. Rich in color and texture, there are literally hundreds of combinations to choose from.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Ornamental grasses almost look more like full plants than grasses. They grow in a couple of distinct ways--either in clumps or in running rhizoid formations. Grasses that clump grow in controllable patterns, allowing you to design distinct areas. Running rhizoid grasses grow a bit more invasively, so you'll have to create a strategy for adding them to your lawn that won't disrupt your landscaping.

Favorite Ornamental Grasses

  • Bluestem. This upright, open-to-arching perennial usually blooms in August and September and has a light brown to bronze fall color.
  • Feather Reed. A vertical, clump-forming grass, Feather Reed is often used around water gardens and in naturalized areas that tend to flood.
  • Perennial Fountain. This is an upright-open, mound-forming plant used as an accent or specimen plant in the middle of borders and with other perennials.
Caring for your ornamental grasses is not as difficult as you might believe. The trick is in knowing when to plant, how much to water, and how to keep your soil fueled for maximum growth and fullness.

Caring for Ornamental Grasses

  • Fertilizer. Apply one-half to one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet.
  • Water. Water well the first season after planting so grasses can develop a good root system.
  • Weed Control. Cultivate around grass plants and apply generous mulch.
You'll be surprised at the added element that ornamental grasses provide to your lawn and garden area. Visit your local home and garden center for a wide selection and tips for growth.


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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