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Why You Should Grow Native Grasses

September 8, 2020

By: Barb Holtz

I often feel some folks wince just a little when they read seed mix contents and grasses / sedges are in the line-up. It's like a new food item on the menu. "Hmmm...I'm not sure I'll like that." Generally, our experience with grass is lawn or large, plume-y clumps decoratively placed around office park entrances. Just like native wildflowers or forbs, native grasses or graminoids "work" for nature and for you. Call them the unsung heroes.


Here are reasons why you should plant native grasses and sedges in your landscape:

  • Drought tolerant and storm water percolating - deep root systems reach far below the soil surface to water reserves, even through tough clay soils. These deep roots act as highways for storm water to percolate and recharge ground water.
  • Stabilize soil - fibrous root systems grab soil, holding it in place, even on slopes.
  • Require low nutrients - no fertilizers needed here.
  • Provide wildlife cover & food - spear-like stems and leaves clump to form foliage fortress for small mammal and insect protection and shade. Birds enjoy grasses as a place to feed on said insects and nest.
  • Larval food source for butterflies and moths - broad-leaved plants don't corner the market on caterpillar food. Grasses and the like support pollinators-to-be. Big Bluestem, Switch Grass, Little Bluestem

Stay tuned for my next blog in the Unsung Heroes series. We'll chat about how grasses and sedges add interest to the home landscape. Yep, I'm going to be naming names. What plant works best where.

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