Grasses?

adidas(6/7)April 25, 2013

Hello. I know very little about grasses but wondered if they might be what I need? My property was mostly appalachian mtns- woodland. However, the previous owners cut all the large trees around the house and cut a border around the grass that grows over the septic. The border area which was once shaded by large trees is now fully exposed to sun and the weeds have EXPLODED! My question is: though I was thinking of moss or fern for ground cover to slow the weeds I don't think this will work in full sun and since the area is quite large I don't think I could afford this. Would grasses work well here and if so which ones? I would like to avoid fast growing species that take over and I def. want to stick to native...maybe something that could provide the goldfinches with seed in the fall? Are there any grasses that I could start from seed over the winter?

Thanks for ANY input!

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Nick4Natives(5b)

Well, you have several options. If it is only grass that you want you may consider prairie dropseed. It is a warm-season clump grass that doesn't get too tall, spreads slowly, and provides seeds for birds. Little Bluestem would also be a good choice and it looks great during every season. I'm not sure if finches eat the seeds.

Prairie Nursery sells a seeds mix especially designed for septic mound areas. It is a mix of flowers and grasses that thrive in this sort of environment and will not have any negative impact on the septic system.

Although you noted that you only want grasses in this area, you may want to some flowers and other species to grow with the grasses. Check out some of the pictures that Prairie Nursery has of their septic mix. You don't have to buy their product, but it may give you some ideas on what other species options you may have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Improved Ecosystems

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:23AM
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adidas(6/7)

Thank-you for your input! I actually have w/s'd a bunch of different species of wildflowers and shrubs. Asclepias sp., Amsonia, Calycanthus etc etc and I thought that grasses might work well here, too. The area is very, very dry because trees have been removed and there is nothing on the soil to maintain moisture (mulch, leaves etc). It is also EXTREMELY ROCKY (you have to spend a day moving boulders to plant ANYTHING!). I want to grow something that will compete w/ and knock back the thistle. I understand they won't grow in shade so I am trying to encourage the paw paws, spicebushes etc(understory shrubs that grow in the area) to re-grow in the area. Do oat grasses and others that birds like tend to be invasive? I don't mind a "wild" look but do not want preferred species to be overrun by more aggressive ones!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Nick4Natives(5b)

You have a bunch of options when it comes to fast ground cover that birds enjoy. I use rye grass in a lot of my projects, but if I am looking for a quick wildlife booster I really like annuals that pose little to no risk of reseeding.

Switchgrass might be a good option with very rocky soil? I've thrown switchgrass seed on gravel backfill spots and in a few years it has a decent amount standing tall. It is aggressive, but it is great for birds and looks good in the Fall and Winter

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:06PM
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