Ornamental Grasses- are some invasive?

ConnieinMaryland(z7a Md.)July 5, 2005

I'm designing a grass garden for a friend, it backs up to "open space" that is an unmaintained hill going down. I'm concerned whether Miscanthus "Morning Light" would become invasive by its seeds?

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The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses by Rick Darke, says that 'Morning Light' is not inclined to self-sow. I think it's because it blooms late, like October, and isn't able to develop viable seeds before cold weather.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 4:45PM
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ConnieinMaryland(z7a Md.)

Thanks, Donn. There isn't much I can find about invasiveness in grasses. Should I take it that they aren't unless Darke says they ARE, or they ARE
unless he says they AREN"T?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Phalaris arundinacea (ribbon grass) is very invasive. Here's some info...

Here is a link that might be useful: ribbon grass

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 1:05AM
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Many ornamental grasses CAN be invasive, however like all other exotic or non-native plants, invasiveness will be defined by region. Don't rely on a book for this - all states have invasive plants listings, some even determined by county. Restrictions regarding the planting of certain plant species will differ from area to area, as will penalties for planting known invasives. Selfseeding or otherwise aggressive growth behaviours are not the same as invasiveness but may be just as worrisome in a garden setting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maryland, invasive species

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 10:01AM
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ConnieinMaryland(z7a Md.)

First of all, thanks everyone, for the help.

Wow- Miscanthus! That invasive species of Maryland site is really good- thanks. I think we'll start with Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) for screening, and then Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides) on the "path". She wants Hedera helix on the fence- I'm going to try to talk her into a few Clematises instead; there are a few that are purported to be evergreen around here.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 12:42PM
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ConnieinMaryland -
There's a great OG book called, Grasses (2002) by Nancy J. Ondra & pics by Saxon Holt.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 12:32AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

You might want to rethink using Buchloe dactyloides in your path. Buffalo grass is not a hardy grass for regular foot traffic. If one can define "regular" in this instance.

Occasional foot traffic shouldn't be a major issue. One plus side of Buffalo grass would be the limited height it reaches.

Generally Buffalo grass is planted in park type situations to eliminate cutting practices. Once established Buffalo grass is very drought tolerant as well.

It will turn brown in drought conditions but will green up when it gets the moisture it needs.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 3:57PM
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ConnieinMaryland(z7a Md.)

Thanks, Jake
Actually, your experience with Buffalo grass confirms my incination to use it. The path is actually the walkway across the back of the garden, where the condo association requires she leave passage open for firefighters and the like. She doesn't want to do ANY mowing, but doesn't want to encourage anyone to walk by, either.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 7:17AM
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I have Miscanthus Morning Light and Adagio in my garden, and neither one of them is invasive. I have not noticed any seedlings from these plants, and they grow in well-contained clumps. The only ornamental grass that I have grown that has been invasive so far is Northern Sea Oats, Chasmanthium latifolia. It doesn't spread by runners, but reseeds fairly heavily. It hasn't been too difficult weeding out the seedlings, but it's not something you can just plant and forget about -- unless you want sea oats growing everywhere.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:47AM
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I had one C. latifolia last year, wintersown. I collected every seed it produced, WS'd them this year, and now I have 12 clumps. It's a great foliage plant, even if you deadhead or collect the seeds. To prevent self-seeding, cut the seedheads, with their stems, when they are ripe, but before they fall. Use them in the house in dried flower arrangements. You can keep them quite a while, and then sow the seeds if you want more plants.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:57AM
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gillespiegardens(Z6 cinti ohio)

my miscanthus gracillimus, giganteus and strictus all have sown little volunteers around my gardens. several kinds will do so. pennisetum aloepecuriodes ssp and esp the moudry cultivar are self sowers too, in addition to the northern sea oats
i dig up and transplant the volunteers or give them away and sometimes i even pitch them as weeds.

"The one thing all gardeners share in common is a belief in tomorrow"

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 10:07PM
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