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Tall Roadside Grass

Posted by Thuja USDA z4 WI, US (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 4, 04 at 21:55

Is this picture good enough to ID this grass? I found it growing along some highways in NE Wisconsin. It appears to be about 9 feet high or so. Some are growing along damp areas but others drier.

Image link: Tall Roadside Grass (60 k)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by Thuja USDA z4 WI, US (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 10, 04 at 0:12

My best guess so far is: Phragmites communis, Wild Reed.


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 17, 05 at 23:54

Indeed, it sounds fun to try and grow. Hope you have success with the tall grass.


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by Thuja USDA z4 WI, US (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 18, 05 at 11:12

I did start some seed last spring and the plants are now about 4'. It is slow going but starting to pick up a bit of steam.
leaves
culm


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

How'd your grass do? I've seen lots of that tall stuff around here too. Seems to die back all the way to the ground every year. Are you worried about it getting out of hand? Did you get a positive ID? I'm tempted to collect some seed too. It seems to grow in pretty swampy areas though.


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by Thuja zone 4b WI, US (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 30, 05 at 10:50

This spring it will be 2 yrs old. Some culms were around 6' tall. It does spread but like bamboo it is easy to spot new shoots so you could stop its run for the border if you want. So far I have just let it spread and it has gone 6-8 ft. I'm pretty sure it's the native variety of Phragmites. It didn't suffer the drought this summer although I did water it periodically. Aphids seem to like it but causes no damage. I'll probably have spare rhizomes this spring for anyone brave or crazy enough to try it.


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

Very interesting looking grass. I'd love to know how it fared thru this winter and how much it pushed its borders. Thanks for sharing the great photos.


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by hansa z7 E.TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 11, 06 at 23:55

Thank you Thuja !!! I have been searching for the name of this grass for several years. I'm originally from MI., z5... I have harvested this grass which grows in ditches and grows, for miles, along I-75. I LOVE this grass. I have embarassed my daughters, while they were in their teens, by pulling my car over and picking these beautiful, beige 'moppy headed' grasses in the fall. My oldest daughter crawled under the dashboard once and said that she didn't want any of her friends to see her. Years later, she called me and said that she hated to admit the fact that 'she' pulled her car over and harvested the big fluffy heads of this grass, to put in a large vase, in her apartment. "Oh dear... I've become my mother", she said. We BOTH laughed soooo hard.

I have brought rhizomes back from MI trips, trying to get some started in my yard, here in E. TN. I make wreaths and floral arrangements and have 'craved' having these floresences (?) to use again. I still have a bundle of dried stems/&heads from when I left MI.... 15 years ago. They are precious. I have had to restart new rhizomes three times down here, without much luck. I have a VERY pityful tiny plant trying to 'hang in there'. Even the snails are working against me. Soon as things look good, they cut off the green tops. I finally covered the area around the tiny stems with the sharp edged aquarium gravel. That helped some. I had already made a cage around it to stop the wild 'yard' bunnies from snacking on it!

This is the FIRST site that I found with my favorite grass.... & with pictures. TN might be too hot for this Midwest grass. Has anyone else had any luck with this transplant? Many thanks for the picts. and I.D. You've made my night :-)


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by thuja zone 4b WI, US (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 13, 06 at 21:10

That's a great story Hansa. I found out that rabbits will go out of their way for the shoots.

GrannyMarsh, I'll post some pictures and a report this spring. I have the feeling there will be some nice shoots.


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RE: Tall Roadside Grass

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 18, 06 at 16:54

Oh boy, ornamental grasses of all sorts. Tried arundo donax last year and gave me instant gratification compared to the bamboo that was also planted last year, which was sleeping.
This year I'm adding some giant miscanthus and also the running silver banner grass. I also am getting the phragmites to add to my giant grass collection.

And as you know, many bamboo are getting also added. Grass has never felt so good!


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