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In a natural landscape design, ornamental grasses, with their soft texture and subdued tones offer a great backdrop for bright perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs. They are very effective when planted in groups of three or more so that they form clumps large enough to make an impact.
Mid-height grasses (40 to 80 centimeters) can be used in foundation planting or borders to add color and texture year-round. They can be used as an alternative to groundcovers on steep slopes or even narrow beds. Try planting Golden hakonechloa which will grow to 40 cm, requires sun, moist soil and is yellow/green in color.
Once established, if you have selected the proper grasses for your site, nature should take care of the watering. In the spring, cut back old stems and leaves to within 10 – 15 cm. off the ground. A twice-yearly application, in spring and summer, of 10-6-4 granular fertilizer should be the only feeding required.
Taller ornamental grasses (one to two meters) can be used as screen plantings to block unsightly views or to add privacy to corners of your yard.
Some taller grass varieties are:
Plume Grass (Erianthus ravennae) grows to a height of 2 meters and is white in color.
Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variagatus') grows to height of 1 meter with a green/white color.
Feather Reed Grass ( Calamagrostis acutiflora stricta) grows to 2 meters and is tan in color.
Use shorter varieties of ornamental grasses (15to 30 centimeters) to fill small holes in your rock garden or to add interest to a bed beside a walkway. For a shorter variety, try planting Blue Fescue (Festuca ovina glauca) which grows to 20cm., prefers sun, dry soil and is wonderful silvery blue color or
Sheeps Fescue (Festuca cinera) which will also grow to 20cm, prefers dry to moist soil and is green in color.
Though most grasses are able to tolerate less than ideal conditions, they should be given a good start. To plant, dig a planting hole to a depth of at least 35 cm and the same in width. Backfill with a combination of 60% topsoil, 30% peat moss, 10% rotted manure and a handful of bonemeal.
Add a water-soluble transplant fertilizer at the time of planting and follow up with two applications of 15-30-15 water-soluble fertilizer every three weeks. Check moisture levels each week for the first five or six weeks.
For a shade grass try planting:
Palm Sedge Grass (Carex muskingumensis) which grows to a height of 70cm , prefers moist soil and is green in color..
Fox Red Curly Sedge (Carex buchanani)grows to height of 60 cm., prefers moist soil and is red in color.
Snowy Wood Rush (Luzula nivea) grows to height of 60 cm., prefers dry soil and is white in color.