Grass Advice.....

Riverton, UT(Zone 6a)

I love the look of the tall thick and bunched grass...Im in zone 6 and need to find something hardy. Does anyone know of some good ones and if so, can they be started by seed? How hard is it to find seed? I love the look of the ones that dry out in fall and can be decorative all winter long. THanks guys. Lesh

Great South Bay, Lon, NY(Zone 7a)

Lesh...there are hundreds of hardy bunching grasses you can grow from seed. Heights range from short to tall, in all sorts of colors, habits and cultural requirements. You can get them for shade or sun, and they couldn't be easier to grow from seed. Seed is available, cheaply, on the web.

It isn't a quick-fix, however. You need to spend some time researching ornamental grasses. Just Google "ornamental grass" and click on images, to find things you like the look of, and go from there.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

I think that it would be helpful if you have an idea of what type of grass you would like. Are you looking for a very tall grass for privacy and screening or do you want a smaller tufted grass to use among your perennials? Would you prefer something that is straight or a "fountain" type grass that falls over. Color is another consideration - solid green, green striped, bronze, red or even purple.

Once you know what you want it to look like, it might be easier to hone in on what you want, and then see what type of seeds are available that will fit the bill. I bought a book on ornamental grasses last year to help me get a better idea of what is out there. Unfortunately, when you see grass in a landscape or picture, the name usually isn't there on a sign.

If you do see something of interest, you could always post the picture here, and tell us what it is that you like about that particular grass. Someone else may be able to tell you if it will work in your zone, and how difficult it is to grow. Most grasses are low maintanence.

Riverton, UT(Zone 6a)

I love the tall ones that can be used as a screan that fill out well. The fountain ones are beautiful. Pink pampas grass kinda look. I bought my house last year and it is a half acre of weeds. We are slowly trying to work one area at a time. I am also on a main road so I would love to get some of the open areas filled in fast.

Is it easy to get a good tall bunch of grass by just seed? If I started now what could be accomplished this year.? thanks so much for the info....
Lesh

Great South Bay, Lon, NY(Zone 7a)

Yes, it's pretty easy to grow large bunches of tall ornamental grasses from seed, but it takes at least 3 years to reach mature height. I'll list some which you can easily find seed for, and you can use Google to see if you like their looks. The heights are approximate, and to the plumes.

Saccharum ravennae - Ravenna Grass..10'+
Miscanthus sinensis 'New Hybrids' - Eulalia Grass..6-7'
Sporobolus wrightii - Big Sacaton..5-6'
Panicum virgatum - Switch Grass..4-5'

The taller Pampas Grass varieties are probably not hardy in your zone. A shorter one, Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila' - Dwarf Pampas Grass will reach 6' and is hardy to zone 6.

Fountain Grass can also be grown from seed, but isn't as tall as those above:

Pennisetum alopecuroides
Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry'
Pennisetum orientale

Something to keep in mind..these grasses will provide screening only part of the year. They have to be cut down to a few inches at this time every year, and won't get back to full height until mid-late summer.

Riverton, UT(Zone 6a)

you are wonderful....Thanks so much. Maybe Ill ask in the seed postings if anyone has seeds. i appreciate all the info. Lesh

Great South Bay, Lon, NY(Zone 7a)

Lesh...check your D-mail.

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