Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ornamental Grasses-Crabapple Favorites

native Muhly grass

Ornamental grasses are members of a diverse plant family, Poaceae a.k,a Graminea, the grasses or grains, that have many landscape uses. They add form, texture, contrast, color and year-round interest to beds and borders. They expand the plant palette of landscape design with good-looking, arching foliage that persists throughout winter and adds sound and motion as it rustles and waves in the wind. 

Some perennial grasses are evergreen although most are deciduous, and different grasses can be found that are suitable for sun or shade; for dry soils or wet bog gardens. Some ornamental grasses are vigorous spreaders while others stay in neat clumps, and they all tend to be disease-free, low maintenance and carefree. Grasses are used for edging or as ground covers, while taller species make effective screens adding vertical height. Spreading varieties are good for erosion control, stabilizing soil on steep banks or growing attractively on hard-to-maintain areas.  

True grasses have leaves that are arranged alternately on the stem, with narrow blades and parallel veins. Stems are hollow with bumps at the leaf nodes.  Many ornamental grasses form non-invasive clumps suitable for use as specimen plants.  All ornamental grasses flower, producing spikes, racemes or panicles that add additional appeal.

Habits of Growth include:

  • Tufted 
  • Mounded 
  • Upright 
  • Arching 
  • Running/Creeping
Japanese Blood Grass

LandscapExperts Favorite Grasses include
  • Pink Muhly Grass native with clouds of bright pink seed heads in autumn
  • Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica var. rubra)
  • Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) planted on the Georgia Tech campus
  • Feather Reedgrass Calamagrostis arundinacea 'Karl Foerster'
  • Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum')
  • Ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea var. picta)
  • Silky Thread Grass aka Mexican Feather Grass 9Stipa tenuissima) small and silky
  • Miscanthus sinensis or Eulalia Grass – many varieties, variegations and colors

LIMITED USAGE GRASSES Crabapple limits the use ol 

Bamboo, thanks dennyaco.blogspot
Although bamboo is a true grass, many of the larger bamboos are woody, useful for everything from home building, flooring and screening (timber bamboo), to clothing and garden gloves made from bamboo, to cuisine (bamboo shoots).  

Crabapple LandscapExperts carefully select clumping bamboo when needed, rather than the invasive running bamboo.

Digging Deeper

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