The Advantages of Planting Grasses
Grass- Gramineae or Poaceae
Cultivated, labor-intensive lawns of Bermuda Grass- Cynodon dactylon and Kentucky Bluegrass- Poa pratensis provide erosion control, excellent playing fields, and cold comfort underfoot. More than just rolling green turf, however, there are 9,000 recognized species of grass. Bamboo- Poaceae Bambusoideae are woody grasses that can grow over 6 feet tall very quickly. Planted in rows or groups, bamboo is ideal for natural fencing or screening. Tall ornamental grasses are easy to care for, requiring annual maintenance once, in early Spring. Grown in clusters 1-4 feet in diameter, tall grasses can be used for emphasis, screening, or just adding a pop of color to a sea of green. The wispy seed heads offer visual interest through bleak winter months. Gray-green plume grass- Erianthus ravennae, copper-colored maiden grass- Miscanthus sinensis, purple fountain grass- Pennisetum set scrum, and blue oat grass- Helictotrichon sempervirens, ranging in heights from 2-11 feet, each adds a colorful, textural dimension to the landscape. Short ornamental grasses, such as blue fescue- Festuca glauca, can be used to define garden beds and line walkways, providing natural barriers and guidance. Cereal grasses, such as rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, and millet, are considered farm crops, but clusters corn stalks or sheaves of grain can be used to accent corners of your landscape. Birds, squirrels, and deer will flock to the natural food source. Many kinds of grass are perennial and can reproduce from seeds or rhizomes. Most grasses are thirsty and require persistent watering if you do not live in a moist climate. Once they are established, grasses can recover from moderate drought and tolerate flooding to a fair extent. Ornamental grasses tend to be low maintenance and pest resistant. Turf grasses require regular attention and grooming but provide added side benefits. Lawns reduce heat, filter out pollutants, produce oxygen, and manage stormwater while offering therapeutic benefit and community appeal.