Monday, July 28, 2014
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Full-sun to part-shade native grasses needing or tolerating irrigation
Alkali Sacaton Sporobolus airoides Characterized by soft, arching, green foliage topped by delicate, windblown, open panicles which are produced from June-frost. To 3 feet with foliage, 5 feet with panicles. Full sun to light shade, moist soil, very salt-tolerant. Mow in late winter. Hardy to Zone 5, warm-season bunchgrass. Photograph available soon.

Broomsedge Bluestem Andropogon virginicus Excellent orange winter color. Tight bunch, green in summer, full sun, to 4 feet tall; moist, well-drained soil. Warm-season, hardy to Zone 5, mow in winter. Broomsedge Bluestem (Andropogon virginicus)

Bushy Bluestem Andropogon glomeratus Stout, cinnamon stems to 5 feet for striking winter color. Green in summer, warm-season bunchgrass, likes moist, well-drained soils near water or irrigated. Full sun, hardy to Zone 5, mow in winter. Bushy Bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus)

Common Reed Phragmites australis A warm-season, aggressively rhizomatous wetland grass which invades drier surrounding areas readily, and moves into 1.5 feet of water. 'Shoreline' cv. is especially aggressive, even growing into shade and uphill. Stems are soft, easily cut, unlike Arundo donax. Excellent control on lakeshores against wave erosion, shelter for spawn and other wildlife. Purple tassels become white flags in winter. Worldwide distribution. Does not block waterways. Height to 12 feet, graceful in wind. Full to part sun. Common Reed (Phragmites australis) in summer Common Reed (Phragmites australis) in winter

Eastern Gamagrass Trypsacum dactyloides A warm-season bunchgrass with short rhizomes resembling caterpillars. Deep, thick roots suited to heavy, moist clays. Excellent foliage production plus roots gives control against washout in waterways. Dwarf form gets to 5 feet, usually smaller. Full form gets to 7 feet. Hardy to Zone 5, foliage resembles a fountain, "winter cinnamon" form is cinnamon on foliage in winter. Full to part-sun. Eastern Gamagrass (Trypsacum dactyloides) Eastern Gamagrass (Trypsacum dactyloides) pistils Eeastern Gammagrass (Trypsacum dactyloides) "Prairie Dwarf" fall color

Gulf Muhly Muhlenbergia filipes A warm-season bunchgrass suited to full sun and well-drained soils. Occasional irrigation. Fine-textured, mauve heads in fall fade to sandy in winter, retain structure. To 2.5 feet, clip in late winter. Hardy to zone 7. Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia filipes)

Indiangrass Sorghastrum nutans A warm-season, rhizomatous species suited to full sun and well-drained soils. Occasional irrigation OK. Foliage varies from drooping and green to stiffly upright and blue, yellow tassels in fall to 5-8 feet. Fades to sandy in winter, mow then. Hardy to zone 4. Control rhizomes with bottomless 5-10-gallon pot. Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) potted Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Lindheimer Muhly Muhlenbergia lindheimeri A warm-season bunchgrass of effusive, arching, blue-green foliage to 3 feet tall, topped by a halo of feathery heads in fall to 6 feet. Enjoys moist, heavy clay soils and full sun to light shade. Needs occasional irrigation. Hardy to zone 7. Lindheimer Muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri) Lindheimer Muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri)

Longspike Tridens Tridens strictus A warm-season bunchgrass producing elongated, golden heads in late summer, this grass needs occasional irrigation and full sun. It reaches 3.5 feet in height and is hardy to zone 7. It turns golden from the top down in the fall, remaining a strong, vertical presence in the landscape through winter. Longspike Tridens (Tridens strictus) Longspike tridens (Tridens strictus)

Lowland Switchgrass Panicum virgatum A warm-season bunchgrass with short rhizomes, forming a tall (to 8 feet), cascading bunch with hanging, luxuriant foliage topped by large, delicate, open panicles. Hardy to zone 4, needs full sun and moist soil. Tolerates heavy, wet sites near water. Excellent control against washout. Foliage color ranges from silver-blue to intense green in summer, sandy to intensely cinnamon in winter. Head color varies from that of foliage to purple and even red. Character of the plant endures during winter after foliage fades. Excellent screen or centerpoint. Irrigation needed unless soils are moist. Lowland Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Lowland Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Lowland Swithchgrass (Panicum virgatum) with green and red foliage in winter

Coastal Cordgrass Spartina spartinae A warm-season bunchgrass with rolled, sharp-pointed leaves to 3 feet tall topped by dense spikes. Excellent salt tolerance. Full sun to part shade, moist to wet soils. Foliage may purple during winter. Hardy to zone 7+. Coastal Cordgrass (Spartina spartinae)

Sand Lovegrass Eragrostis trichodes A warm-season bunchgrass, cv. 'Mason Sandhill' certified by the SCS as adaptable to a very wide range of well-drained soil types. Luxuriant foliage to 1 foot tall, produced in full sun to part-shade until midsummer, when the plumes, resembling ostrich feathers, grow to 3.5 feet tall. Excellent backlit. Tolerates some irrigation. Hardy to zone 5. Photograph available soon.

Seep Muhly Muhlenbergia reverchonii Found on seasonally moist erosion benches of harder limestone in limestone hills of the Fort Worth Prairie down into the Hill Country. Hardy to Zone 6, drought-tolerant, blooms in the fall with a straw and mauve, fine-textured head which fades to straw colored in the winter. Neater and more formal in appearance than Gulf or Hairyawn Muhly, but equally delicate. height to 2 feet, bunch form, warm-season plant for full sun. Seep Muhly (Muhlenbergia reverchonii)

Silver Plumegrass Saccharum alopecuroideum A warm-season bunchgrass notable for extreme height (to 12 feet or more) in wet soils, topped in fall by silver-purple heads. Excellent dried, resembling a feather duster. Becomes a bronze column in winter, as a winter focal point or accent. Full sun, hardy to zone 7. Silver Plumgrass (Saccharum alopecuroideum))  Silver Plumgrass (Saccharum alopecuroideum) 

Texas Bluegrass Poa arachnifera A cool-season, rhizomatous grass noted for very early seedheads waving gently on delicate stalks to 2 feet tall and appearing wrapped in spiderwebs. Full sun to part-shade, well-drained soils, tolerates irrigation. Excellent in perennial beds, finished blooming as early-blooming perennials bolt, does not choke them. May suppress crabgrass germination. Hardy to zone 4. Texas Bluegrass (Poa arachnifera)

Tumble Windmillgrass Chloris verticillata A warm-season bunchgrass, resembling a pillow of windmills tight against the ground. Full sun to part shade, well-drained soils a must, rarely irrigate. To 2 feet, usually shorter, blooming from May-frost. Hardy to zone 5, foliage blue-green. Tumble Windmillgrass (Chloris verticillata)

Upland Switchgrass Panicum virgatum A warm-season, aggressivly rhizomatous grass of full sun to part shade. Tolerates drier soils than Lowland Switchgrass, blooms earlier, height to 5 feet (usually shorter) with narrower stems and foliage. Foliage color ranges from silver-blue to intensely green, topped by delicate panicles ranging from foliage-colored to red or purple. Winter color ranges from sandy to intensely cinnamon. Hardy to zone 4. Tolerates occasional irrigation, needs well-drained soils. Photograph available soon.