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How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

Posted by jeff_leites 9 San Fernando Valle (My Page) on
Sun, May 11, 14 at 14:04

My feather grass starts out growing upward, but eventually it kind of collapses into flattish circle. I've tried combing it up, and trimming it down, but I can't recapture that nice upward flowing look. What's the secret?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

There are several different grasses called "Feather Grass." Which one do you have?


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

As far as I know, it's Mexican Feather Grass.


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

Okay...that is Nassella tenuissima. In my zone, it needs full sun and as little water as possible to stay perky. If it get's a heavy rain, it flops until wind and sun dry it out again. I water it seldom, after its soil is completely dried out, and do it by drip irrigation. It self-sows readily, and volunteers which occur in shade don't do well at all. You're in a much warmer and sunnier zone, so yours might tolerate mostly sun instead of full sun.


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

I am in Central Texas and the volunteers that grow in partial shade and bright shade di very well indeed. mater of fact, that is where they come up, not in the sun. Mine seem to get swirly after awhile. I guess that is floppy, but I like that. It is more of a winter grass than a summer one. The seed is already been on there for awhile. I think the cats flop it over because they love to lie in it and hug it and climb under the arches.. Maybe it is too much shade. It is on the north side of some trees. It gets morning sun in the summer. If I remember right, once the seeds are gone, they stand up straighter with that weight gone.

Clawdia

Clawdia


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

my cats love feather grass too, they will whack it down. in my experience its best its first year so i always pull the seasons crop out in the fall, the less water the better it looks-within reason. after it blooms mine gets real ragged real fast


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

Here in New Mexico it grows upright, bending with the wind or rain but standing up straight when it's calm. With supplemental water, it can reach 20" (without flowers) and not flop. With only rainfall (under 10" a year on average) it tends to be shorter, 12-15" but still upright. The flower heads bend softly but it never splays like fountain grass.

It self-seeds all over, though given the very dry conditions it's not a problem. I don't see it much in shade, so I assume it wants full sun and very dry conditions. I have some tiny plants coming up with no additional water (about 2" of precipitation since January 1) and they look like little brush cuts.

Cheryl


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

Only the female cats love it . The male cat keeps the nepeta trimmed at it tips and steers clear of the feather grass. By the way Hi Jadeite. It is interesting about it liking sun in NM and not in Texas. I have been moving babies out into the sun , but I am the one that is pushing it out there. It is not seeding out there. It might have something to do with there being minimal topsoil out from under the leaf drop Zone of the trees. Where I am gardening, the topsoil has been eroded away due to historic overgrazing and the slope of the hills here.


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

The ones I have in full sun are very upright, the ones in partial shade curve, each clump curves the same direction. It does good for me in both these exposures and there are some that volunteer in the areas that become shady in summer which is when they go dormant so they do pretty well too except they will flop pretty bad during a period of heavy rain, then the tips look like dirty dogs.

I don't trim mine, I just pull out the dead stuff if they get ratty and pick up that whole mass of tangled seed mess around the plants when it starts to look like quilt batting.


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

Tex and Wantanamara - I think your feather grass gets more rain and heat than it does here. I've never seen FG here looking like Wantanamara's photos but on the LBJ website where there are several pictures, all from TX, it looks exactly like WMara's. The only picture which looks somewhat like it does here is the big one from Sally Wasowski.

I've seen FG smashed to the ground in summer rains, but as it dries out, it lifts up by itself. Same is true of the native giant grasses. We have clumps of some huge grass where I work. Last year which was a year after planting, it topped out at about 3' with another 1-2' of gently curved flowering stem. It would be flattened in a thunderstorm, but a few hours after drying out it would be as vertical as ever.

Cheryl


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

I just saw a bank on a slope (oops a bit redundant) of feather grass with sunrise to sunset exposure and they were up right and looking good on my ride into town. so It looks that sun and water are a factor , or at least sun is. I don't know what their irrigation situation is there. .


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

I found a picture I took of FG growing in a garden here. It was part of a garden tour in Corrales at the beginning of June this year. You can see the clumps of FG growing around the pool in the center, very straight stems with curved feathery heads. This is typical.

I think the owners irrigate, at least until the tour was over. The stems are about 15" high with the flowers another 4-5". I saw other FG that was about 20-24" high in other gardens on the tour but I'm sure that's with irrigation. There's some kind of wild grass on our property which may be feather grass too, but it's under a foot tall so I'm not sure.

Cheryl


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RE: How do you keep feather grass looking perky?

My , they are straight.


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