giant reed uses

helenh(z6 SW MO)September 24, 2013

Are the stems of giant reed grass useful for garden stakes and trellises. I haven't tried using it; I've had it two or three years and it is getting big. It would be nice if it were good for tomato stakes and cucumber tepees. My fear is that it wouldn't last the season coming apart at the nodes.

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I grow a lot of Ravenna Grass, and always keep the biggest diameter canes. It makes good trellises and supports for light-weight plants like Morning Glories, Bush Beans, Snow Peas, etc.. It doesn't last more than a season in the ground, but will last a couple of years outside and not in the ground. I frequently use it for the horizontals in trellises, and bamboo for the uprights.

It's also very nice in dry cut arrangements. I usually have a couple of pots of them on the porch, cut down to about 7' at the plume. I'll mix in a few Arundo and Miscanthus plumes as well.

It also makes a very nice mulch for containers. I cut it down to ~1" lengths and usually end up with about 20 gallons, which will cover the top of lots of containers, and holds down weeds, holds in moisture and looks good.

This post was edited by donn_ on Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 15:12

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 3:10PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Thanks I hadn't thought of chipping it up for mulch. What I have is Arundo donax. I have a chipper but haven't tried to start it in years.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:15PM
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I use hand pruners. It's how I wake up my hands and forearms in late winter.

Arundo canes are much tougher than Ravenna Grass canes, but they last even less time in the ground as supports. They seem to wick up moisture and rot much faster. I tried to use them for a couple of years, and gave up. I was shredding them until Sandy took my chipper/shredder away. This year, I just tied them up and put them out with the yard waste. The Arundo didn't mind Sandy's flooding at all, so my harvest will be larger next year. The Ravenna grass didn't do as well, but it survived.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 9:53PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Thank you. You told me exactly what I wanted to know. It isn't that good for supports and rots easily. Mine is beautiful now but I am afraid it will get bigger. I'm sorry about your loss in the storm. We have had crazy weather here in the last few years.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:22PM
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