Rhizomatous Grasses

There is just no stopping vigorous rhizomatous grasses! Native bluejoint, Calamagrostis canadensis is a great native grass for wet, shady sites and has attractive buff flowers often found in Minnesota woods, prairie potholes, and along Lake Superior. We just had to get it in check here; show before and after cleanup. Bluejoint is the center plant, but had encroached two other kinds on each side. Faithful volunteers working in the collection are the best!

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Frost Grass lives up to Its Name

Cool, below 32F, temperatures recently damaged the new growth on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum grass collection. Looking at Spodopogon in wonder at the discolored foliage…..then looked at the label and dah…know why the common name is Frost Grass! Yes, centers show some rodent damage and the older dead sections, but all the discolored foliage is frost damage. I expect it to grow out of this in a short amount of time. Miscanthus also showed similar damage, as did little bluestem. IMG_4080IMG_4081

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Spring Clean-up

grass clippings Leslie with a full load!

Great volunteers hand cut any remaining tops after the burn in March;  it turned out to be a big load with the long canes of giant miscanthus that did not get burned. Thank heavens we could move it off to the compost pile with a Toro cart due to Leslie’s careful driving.

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Penn sedge first to flower in spring

carex pa flowers

Yellow tufts of anthers are out now on Carex pensylvanica, one of the first graminoids to flower in Minnesota; I saw the first flowers on April 15, 2016.

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Who is Cutting Your Grass this Spring?

Not everyone is burning their grasses. The High Line folks in NYC have really pushed the envelope in using alpacas to help with the spring clean up!FHL_staff_spring_cutback-34_alpaca

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Spring Burn March 22, 2016

Another growing season begins in Minnesota. With the removal of last year’s growth, the Arboretum burn crew worked in the Grass Collection today, burning the warm season grasses. We are just learning that burning is a trade-off for any insects that lay eggs on the foliage or at the base of the plants. The grasses love the rejuvenation, but wildlife may suffer. 20160322_133624

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Spartina in the News

Spartina with sunflowersSpartina, cord grass, is in the news! At South Dakota State University, Professor Paul Johnson, has identified a new insect, a gall midge, that feeds on young growing seeds of prairie cordgrass, Spartina pectinata, reducing seed set and causing problems for growers who propagate this plant from seed. Prairie cordgrass is native to Minnesota and most of the U.S., and prefers wet sites. Its long strap like leaves and tough rhizomes make it a great plant for shoreline restorations.

In Florida, Grasses in Classes is beginning the fifth year of teaching elementary school children to raise smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, a Florida native shoreland species. Students in 21 schools end the project by planting smooth cordgrass in salt marsh restoration sites along the Choctawhatchee Bay in northwestern Florida to maintain the stability of the shoreline.

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