Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

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dbCooperAir
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Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by dbCooperAir » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:57 am

I would like to plant some tall Ornamental Grass, the taller the better in this case. Located in zone 4b, well drained sandy soil. Going to start with a small area to experiment in.

We live on a few acres and I mow the rear lawn 1-2 time a month, I don't water, fertilize etc. whatever grows is what we get for the most part. I'm willing to put some time into growing some Ornamental grass but no more time than what it take to grow a tomato plant.

Any thoughts on something that would be somewhat easy? I have seen some stuff around here that has to be 4'-5' tall but am clueless to what it is.
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mhc
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by mhc » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:01 pm

You could ask the home owner who has the grass you like. If you make friends with him, he may share some of his grass with you.

I would also suggest going to a local nursery to see what they have and recommend.

ResearchMed
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:14 pm

A major nursery/garden center may have an online catalog with ample photos.

We browsed through one of those, and sure enough, stumbled across the "Oh THIS is what we've always admired in other places!"

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:20 pm

You probably want to consult a professional, perhaps a local land grant university with a cooperative extension.

Some grasses are invasive species. In some areas planting grasses such as Phragmite or some varieties of bamboo could result in legal actions against you. You could be responsible for eradicating the invasive, which might require digging to bedrock* and could be very expensive.

* For some invasive it probably requires nukes, but they're difficult to get hold of.

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lthenderson
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by lthenderson » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:46 pm

We have Little Bluestem grasses that are planted in clumps in our landscaping in zone 4. It is native to the midwest and does well though if you can burn it in late winter/very early spring, it grows like there is no tomorrow. We have a couple acres of land and I'm seriously contemplating planting a large patch of it on a knob that we don't really utilize. If you plant from seed, the first year will look a bit like a disaster because it puts all its energy into putting in a large root system. The second year is will start to shine. However, you can buy it from most landscaping places along with several other varieties of switchgrass but would be quite spendy if you were doing more than small random clumps.

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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by drawpoker » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:29 am

Some ornamental grasses (like fountain grass) require cutting back in late March every year in order to promote new growth (and look nice)
So, unless you want the that extra chore, be sure and pick variety (s) that don't require an annual cutback.

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dbCooperAir
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by dbCooperAir » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:32 am

Thanks everyone, some of you noted to call the local extension office. I have planed to do this as well but the one thing I have noticed over the years with our extension office is they are a great resource for what grows where etc. but they sometimes lack in the maintenance aspect of it.
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rustymutt
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by rustymutt » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:40 am

lthenderson wrote:We have Little Bluestem grasses that are planted in clumps in our landscaping in zone 4. It is native to the midwest and does well though if you can burn it in late winter/very early spring, it grows like there is no tomorrow. We have a couple acres of land and I'm seriously contemplating planting a large patch of it on a knob that we don't really utilize. If you plant from seed, the first year will look a bit like a disaster because it puts all its energy into putting in a large root system. The second year is will start to shine. However, you can buy it from most landscaping places along with several other varieties of switchgrass but would be quite spendy if you were doing more than small random clumps.

+1 Tall bluestem can be used also to border that. Both do well in midwest. Depending on your situation, you might even want to burn off this bluestem grass every few years or so, when conditions are right. If allowed in your area.
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kingsnake
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by kingsnake » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:15 pm

Karl Foerster "feather reed grass"

Cottage
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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by Cottage » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:57 pm

I'm trying to let my yard go 'native' over time. I've used local nurseries, but I've also ordered from Prairie Moon Nursery.

Nice people, good plants, lots of knowledge. (no affiliation, I just like their stuff)

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Re: Ornamental Grasses for Midwest

Post by Carson » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:16 am

If you google your locality & 'native plant list' you should get something from a local ag department or extension, like this:

http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/d ... 8.1.11.pdf

We removed all the grass in our (small) yard and are in the process of replacing it with native plants. It is taking some time for everything to fill in without costing a fortune.
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