Ornamental grasses for master gardeners

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This presentation was for beginning master gardeners. It includes ornamental grasses for Zone 6 conditions in Kansas.

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  • Ornamental grasses for master gardeners

    1. 1. Ornamental Grasses Prepared by Kathy Bagwell Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardener Wichita, KS
    2. 2. Quotes Sedges have edges and rushes are round, grasses are hollow and rush all around – author unknown Grass is the hair of the earth – Karl Foerster
    3. 3. Landscape Bed
    4. 4. Resources • http://www.kswildflower.org/ Pictures and information about Kansas grasses • The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses – Rick Darke • http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/ • Gardening With Ornamental Grasses Roger Grounds
    5. 5. Grass Types • True Grasses – Native and imported • Belong to the family Poaceae (also known as Graminaea) – Pronounced Poe uh SEA eigh • Stems (culms) are cylindrical, hollow, and have swollen joints called nodes • Leaves alternate along the length of culms; straight veins running parallel to the leaf margins • Pollinated by the wind
    6. 6. Grass Family - Gramineae • • • • Also called Poacea A very large family – around 650 genera Distributed world-wide Includes all grains such as rice, wheat, and corn • Includes bamboo • Includes turfgrass • Includes ‘Range’ grasses
    7. 7. Grass Family - Gramineae • Includes Bamboos • This was taken in Jamaica • True wood is absent • Pronounced gramin'-ee-aa
    8. 8. Grass-Like Plants • Grass-like appearance – Sedges • Belong to Cyperaceae family (Carex genus) • Stems lack nodes, are solid with centers filled with pith and are distinctly triangular in cross-section • Leaves are wrapped around the shoots in 3 ranks – Rushes • Belong to Juncaceae family (Juncus genus) • Stems are cylindrical, generally a solid pith, and without nodes • Pointed leaves usually arise from the soil and wrap tightly around the stems
    9. 9. Rushes • In Japan, the rush is used to weave tatami, the traditional floor covering in homes. • In England before light bulbs became the norm, the inner pith was soaked in animal fat or wax, then burned like a candle. • Some varieties native to the U.S. • Juncus means ‘to join’ in latin • Found in wetlands in sun
    10. 10. Examples of Rushes ‘Curly Wurly’ Juncus Rush  (Juncus decipiens) • 3-6” tall • Prefers moist to wet soil • Full sun to part shade • Zones 5-9 ‘Spiralis’ Juncus Rush  12-20” tall (Juncus effusus)
    11. 11. Soft Rush ‘Blue Arrows’ Juncus inflexus • 24-36” tall • Prefers moist to wet soil • Full sun to part shade • Zones 5-10
    12. 12. Another Rush Luzula nivea Snowy Woodrush • 24” Tall • Zone 4-9 • Part Shade • Moderately wet conditions
    13. 13. Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' •Common Names: Golden dwarf sweet flag, Japanese rush • Spreads with rhizomes, requires some sun • Yellow stripes •In genus Acorus, not Juncus Pronounced: ah-KOR-us gram-IN-ee-us
    14. 14. Sedges
    15. 15. Carex – Gold Fountains ‘Kaga Nishiki’
    16. 16. Sedges ‘Evergold’ Carex oshimensis • 9-12” tall, 12-18” spread • Prefers moist to wet soil • Part shade • Zones 5-9 • Blooms in May • Evergreen
    17. 17. Sedges ‘Aurea’ or ‘Bowles Gold’ Carex elata • 24-30” tall, 18-20” spread • Prefers moist to wet soil • Part shade • Zones 5-9 •Blooms in May
    18. 18. Sedges Leather Leaf Sedge Carex buchananii • 1-3’ tall, 1-3’ spread • Prefers moist to moderate soil • Full Sun to part shade • Zones 6-9 •Blooms in fall
    19. 19. ‘Red Fox’ Curly Sedge A brown sedge Reaches 2-3' tall; zones 6-9 Cinnamon colored year-round
    20. 20. ‘Beatlemania’ Sedge •Mop head look, evergreen • 6” tall, 10” spread •USDA Zones 5-9 • 4-6 hours sun, part shade •Acidic soil to neutral soil •Average but consistent water needs
    21. 21. Palm Sedge Branches similar to a palm tree Native to wooded lowlands – does best in slightly damp soil in shade Thrives in clay Used in Rain Gardens Hardy in Zones 4-7 Carex muskingumensis
    22. 22. True Grasses
    23. 23. Native Grasses • • • • • • • • Split-beard Broomsedge Side oats Grama Big Bluestem Northern Sea Oats Purple Love Grass Switch Grass Little Bluestem Indian Grass
    24. 24. Introduced Grasses • Reed grass (Calamagrostis) - Not native to the US, but found in Korea, Europe, and Canada • Giant Reed grass (Arundo donax) – native to India, Africa, & Mediterranean • Japanese silver/Maiden grass (Miscanthus) – native to many areas of Asia • Fountain grasses (Pennisetum) – native to China, Uruguay, Uganda, and other warm temperate areas.
    25. 25. Classification • Cool-season Grasses – Prefer temps between 60 and 75 degrees – Growth in spring and fall – Bloom in early summer (June) • Warm-season Grasses – Prefer temps between 80 and 95 degrees – Growth emerges later and grows when temperatures are warm – Bloom in late summer or fall
    26. 26. Growth Habits of Grasses • Clumping, generally non-invasive • Spreading – Stolons – above ground – Rhizomes – below ground
    27. 27. Quick Facts • Grasses are adaptable and can grow in poorer soils better than many other garden plants – easy to grow. Do not fertilize. • Grasses require little effort to maintain. • Grasses come in many heights, colors, textures and have varying water requirements.
    28. 28. Quick Facts • Grass seed heads and foliage add fall and winter interest. • Grasses can be used as groundcovers, specimen plants, for erosion control, and as vertical design elements (to name a few).
    29. 29. Maintenance • True grasses – Remove dead foliage in late winter (Feb. thru March) • Evergreen grasses/sedges – comb through with hand or hand fork to remove dead foliage (please use gloves). • Easiest method of trimming grass? – Wrap tightly with duct tape around the 2’ height, then cut with hedge trimmers below the duct tape.
    30. 30. Trimming Ornamental Grasses
    31. 31. Dividing Grasses
    32. 32. Split-Beard Broomsedge • 2-3’ Tall • Flowers in September • Creamy white flower •Likes sandy-loam soils, dry to normal water requirement •Native Andropogon ternarius, pronounced: an-droPO-gon ter-NAR-ee-us
    33. 33. Split-Beard Broomsedge
    34. 34. Giant Reed Grass (Arundo donax) • Native to India • USDA hardiness zone 6-10 • Wetland plant, some states consider it invasive • Spreads primarily by rhizomes • Used for erosion control and for stabilizing disturbed riparian areas.
    35. 35. Side Oats Grama • Cultivar ‘Trailway’ • Warm-season grass •12-18” Tall • Suited for alkaline soils
    36. 36. Korean Feather Reed Grass • 2007 “Great Plants of the Great Plains” grass of the year • Prefers partial shade, ok in sun • 24-30” • Self seeds, but easily managed
    37. 37. Eldorado Feather Reed Grass
    38. 38. Perennial Plant of the Year in 2001 Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Eldorado’ • 3-5’ tall • 5-6’ with flower • Green/gold midrib variegation • Variegated form of ‘Karl Foerster’
    39. 39. ‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed Grass
    40. 40. ‘Karl Foerster’
    41. 41. ‘Overdam’ Feather Reed Grass • Only 3-4’ Tall, shorter than Karl Foerster • A creamy white vertical stripe on leaf edges • Gold spikes in early summer
    42. 42. Northern Sea Oats • 2-3’ Tall •Unique seed head - nice drooping seeds •Reseeds easily •Flowers in July & August •Chasmanthium latifolium
    43. 43. Purple Love Grass • Short grass – 10” • Flowers in August • Great in mass plantings • Eragrostis spectabilis
    44. 44. Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’ • Cool season grass • Short lived in clay • 6-10” Tall
    45. 45. Blue Oat Grass Helictotrichon sempervirens 2-3’ tall, full sun Cool season, clump forming
    46. 46. Imperata cylindrica Japanese Blood grass 1-2’ tall, full sun to part shade Rarely flowers Considered invasive in Kansas
    47. 47. Melica Red Spire red plumes • Deep • 12-18” Tall • Same plant can be in multiple stages of fruiting • cardinals eat seeds • Melica transilvanica
    48. 48. ‘Cabaret’ Japanese Silver Grass • 7’ tall with flower • Late season plume (September & October)
    49. 49. ‘Central Park’ Maiden Grass • 4-5’ Tall • Thin white stripe in center of leaf
    50. 50. ‘Cosmopolitan’ Japanese Silver Grass • 8 feet tall • reddish-pink flowers • leaves have white stripe down the center on one side and on the edge on the other side
    51. 51. ‘Gold Bar’ Maiden Grass • • • • 4-5’ by October Horizontal stripes Dense growth Compact erect habit • Grow in border or container • Blooms in late Oct.
    52. 52. ‘Gracillimus’ Maiden Grass 5-6’ Tall Copper-colored flower plumes
    53. 53. ‘Graziella’ Maiden Grass 5-6’ tall Plumes become more creamcolored in fall
    54. 54. ‘Little Kitten’ Maiden Grass 2-3’ tall Thin, silvergreen wiry leaves Silver-white plumes in fall
    55. 55. ‘Morning Light’ Maiden Grass • 4’ tall; 6’ with flower • White variegation along margin • Fine textured
    56. 56. ‘Super Stripe’ Maiden Grass • 4’ tall, 7’ with flower • More stripes and more defined than on older varieties
    57. 57. ‘Autumn Red’ Maiden Grass • Showy red/green/purple foliage in fall • More compact, vertical grower • 3-5’ Tall
    58. 58. Variegated Silver Grass • 6’ with flower • One of oldest variegated Miscanthus • May require staking if it has some shade
    59. 59. ‘Heavy Metal’ Switch Grass • 3-5’ tall • Metallic lavender blue waxy foliage • Shade will cause it to flop.
    60. 60. ‘Northwind’ Switch Grass
    61. 61. ‘Prairie Sky’ Switch Grass • 4-6’ tall • “the bluest, hardiest, strongest and quickest” of all the Switch Grasses – Harlan Hamernik (owner of Bluebird Nursery – Nebraska)
    62. 62. ‘Prairie Sky’ Fall photo
    63. 63. ‘Shenandoah’ Switch Grass 2009 Great Plants of the Great Plains – Grass of the Year Red Switchgrass – 3’ tall; 4’ with flower
    64. 64. ‘Hameln’ Dwarf Fountain Grass 2-3’ Tall Creamy white to tan plumes in late summer.
    65. 65. ‘Little Bunny’ Fountain Grass Dwarf 10-12” tall 12” wide
    66. 66. ‘Moudry’ Fountain Grass Black seed heads Reseeds
    67. 67. ‘Foxtrot’ Fountain Grass Large, vigorous plant 5’ tall; 4’ wide
    68. 68. ‘National Arboretum’ Fountain Grass Dwarf vigorous plant 3’ tall
    69. 69. ‘Karly Rose’ Fountain Grass Deep pink plumes in June. Quick to establish, 3’ tall with plumes.
    70. 70. Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ • • • • • Annual in zone 6 Hardy to zone 9-10 3’ tall 4’ with flower Excellent backdrop to annual beds • May overwinter in greenhouse
    71. 71. Ribbon Grass (Phalaris arundinacea picta 'Feesey') • Will grow where other plants will not • Does spread, but less in shade • Flowers are white, appear in June • Grows taller in shade, flops more
    72. 72. Ravenna Grass
    73. 73. ‘Blaze’ Little Bluestem Fall Color
    74. 74. Little Bluestem • Native to KS • 2 ½’ tall • Reddish brown winter color • Clump grass • 'The Blues'
    75. 75. Big Bluestem Andropogon gerardii (Turkey foot)
    76. 76. ‘Silver Sunrise’ Bluestem Andropogon gerardi • A natural hybrid of big and sand bluestem • Silvery foliage • 5-6’ with flower spike • 2006 release of Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Assn.
    77. 77. Big Bluestem Grass
    78. 78. ‘Indian Steele’ Indian Grass 32-42” tall; 24-32” wide Upright blue-green form
    79. 79. Hairgrass (Muhlenbergia) Pink Muhly Grass, Purple Muhly Grass
    80. 80. Japanese Forest Grass Hakonechloa 'Aureola' with a fern and boxwood
    81. 81. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses A Summary
    82. 82. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 1. Add Privacy or Screen
    83. 83. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 2. Create Colorful Containers Fiber Opticgrass with contrasting texture: a grayblue echeveria
    84. 84. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 3. Add Texture to Beds & Borders Fountain grasses and Miscanthus look great with Black-eyed Susan, Lavender, and Hydrangea.
    85. 85. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 4. Soften Hardscaping Miscanthus softens the concrete edge of a swimming pool.
    86. 86. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 4. Soften Hardscaping Use Sedges or Grasses to soften the rocks.
    87. 87. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 5. Dress up decks and patios Annual purple fountaingrass and other tender grasses are good choices for containers.
    88. 88. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 6. Add a Garden Accent A clump of fountaingrass complements bold blackeyed Susans, canna, coleus, and petunia on a deck.
    89. 89. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 7. Create an Edging Small selections, such as the blue fescue shown here, are best as an edging. Plant the grasses closer together so they become a line.
    90. 90. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 8. Create End-of-Season Interest Grasses are just getting going when most annuals and perennials look worn.
    91. 91. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 9. Attract Wildlife Grasses are great for attracting wildlife, especially birds. Select grasses native to your region, such as switchgrass shown here.
    92. 92. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 11. Grow a Pretty Prairie Create a meadow or prairie effect with grasses. For best success, select grasses that are native to your region. The Joe Pye Weed, Echinacea, sunflowers, and Rudbeckia help with the meadow effect.
    93. 93. Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses 12. Focal Point Karl Foerster Feather Reed
    94. 94. Thank You!

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