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tall screening grass

belleville, NJ(Zone 6a)

Hi!
i am looking for recommendations for a tall screening grass - say between 6' and 10' tall. i am getting the idea, after looking at waaay too many catalogs, that the height given may not be how tall it stands, but how long the leaves/blades are.
i have a particularly awful area in back of the apartment complex we live in that i'd like to minimize tha impact of. (Well, i am trying to separate a big blue dumpster from my garden. At least a little.) i can't plant a tree or wody shrub because there is a transformer that cannot be blocked.
Grass seems like a good solution, but which one? i love the look of miscanthus "Silberfeder" (sp?), but is it tall enough? i've looked at "porcupine grass," arundo formosa, switchgrass...
How fast do they actually grow? i need to fill a space about 10' long - how many plants do i need? (i don't have big $ - technically it isn't even my property, but they let me do mostly what i want.)

Thank you for any and all advice. i need to do this soon!

amy
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Thumbnail by amethystsm
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The trouble with grasses is they need to be cut back sometimes, so you're going to have some times of the year when they don't provide much blocking. And if the base part of the grass is not that tall and it's just the plumes that get tall, then that's even more time that it isn't blocking your view. Would you be allowed to install some lattice in front of it and grow some vines instead? That way even if it's not an evergreen vine you'll still have the lattice mostly blocking the view. And since lattices with vines are narrow, they should still be able to access the transformer.

belleville, NJ(Zone 6a)

Thank you for the thought - but no, i can't put any actual structure there. Or a tree/shrub/bush. Technically there isn't supposed to be anything there so that if the utilities people come, they can just bust through. So, if it is grass, it will probably be destroyed - but i won't be in trouble.

The land is not mine, basically anything i plant anywhere i have to be prepared to have destroyed at any time. i also don't have very much $.

i've been looking at this dumpster for 3+ years now. i'd just love to not be looking so directly at it, especially when it is over-full and people pile garbage bags around it (like this weekend). Nothing will make it vanish, but i do hope to reduce its impact a bit....

amy
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amy
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Pensacola, FL

Amy,

I think grasses would be a perfect solution. I used grasses to front an electric box in a retention area (also not my property). A couple of times, the county has cut them back to do work, but I'll trim them back up and clean them and they'll fill right back out nicely.

As far as height, if it's not irrigated in any way, they aren't going to grow as fast left to their own devices, but otherwise I would say you could get 1/2 mature height by fall if you plant grasses out now. Do you have any way to get water on them as they establish?

Porcupine grass, Miscanthus Strictus would be agreat choice because you'll have a bit more vertical and less chances of flopping. An established strictus of a few years can be 8 ft tall in foliage alone...that's with care and good soil.

Thumbnail by karlfoerster1
belleville, NJ(Zone 6a)

Lovely picture!
o, i can water them. ^_^ Sigh.
This area is right in front of the wall where most of my garden is, and about 75' from my back door.
The wall isn't always as awful as in that wintry picture. Here is part of it, taken with the dumpster just behind me, last year...
(haha - i just realized, in this you can see the dumpster at the other end. But in reality, it is at least 30 or 40' from the end of the wall, and i rarely think about it.)

Thumbnail by amethystsm
Millington, TN(Zone 7b)

Another grass with really tall foliage is Giant Chinese Silver Grass (Miscanthus floridulus aka M. giganteus). The foliage itself gets to be about 10' tall and the plumes are above that. It's a really fast growing grass so it will quickly grow once it has been cut back in the early spring.

belleville, NJ(Zone 6a)

Thanks!
i will have to look for that - it sounds really cool!

amy
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