Found in the perennial section of your local garden center, ornamental grasses can provide a host of different uses in the landscape. There are a handful of these grasses that stand out since they are used so often. Calamagrostis xacutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ is probably the most recognized of these. They are showy, easy & rapid growers, and fit extremely well in perennial plantings.
But there certainly are others and they all present their own unique look. There is a myriad of color and size, and texture possibilities. As we look at some of these, let’s also touch on the benefits of ornamental grasses.
Except for some spring cutback, ornamental grasses are very low maintenance. They generally have low nutrient requirements with insect and disease problems being rare.
White-tailed deer do not eat most ornamental grasses making them ideal for Minnesota properties.
Grasses are fast growing and most reach their mature size in about 3 years. A grass of note is Miscanthus x ‘Giganteus GIANT MISCANTHUS which can reach heights of 11 feet in zone 4. As a side note, research is proving great potential of this grass as an alternative source of energy to produce ethanol.
Ornamental grasses are also desirable for their movement in the wind and multiple-season interest. They are a jewel of an accent to any landscape and should be seriously considered on any property.
By Chad Bischoff, Landscape Designer at Barrett Lawn Care