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Extension > Garden > SULIS > Maintenance > Sustainable Herbaceous Plant Maintenance > Landscape Grasses

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Landscape Grasses

Landscape Grasses
Landscape Grasses

Grasses have become popular additions to Midwestern landscapes in recent years. They are available in a wide variety of form, color and texture, add a serene, graceful dimension to plantings. They are also low-maintenance, resistant to most diseases and insects, and many can tolerate the cold while adding interest to the winter landscape. There are hardy grass varieties to suit almost any conditions in today's gardens with more being introduced every year by universities in the northern climes.

For more on proper plant selection based on site and plant characteristics, see Plant Elements of Design plant selection database.

Click on any of the following headings and link to chapters that explain care and maintenance of herbaceous plants.

Dividing Plants
Dividing Rhizomes
Starting Plants from Seed
Collecting and Saving Seed
Self-Sowing Plants
Propagation by Vegetative Cuttings
Transplanting Seedlings, Cuttings and Divided Plants

Staking, Supporting and Training Plants
Methods of Supporting Plants
Materials & Structures
Training to Improve Plant Health (FUTURE)
Training Plants for Ornamental Purposes (FUTURE)

Cutting Back Plants
Pruning for Plant Form
Pruning to Prevent Disease (FUTURE)
Deadheading and Pinching Back (FUTURE)

Mulching & Watering
Why Use Mulch?
Application of Mulch
Mulching for Weed Control
Mulching for Winter Protection
Mulching for Moisture Control
Organic Mulches
Synthetic Mulches
Watering Your Landscape
How to Determine the Frequency and Rate of Watering
Water Quality and its Effect on Plants

Nutrition, Fertilizers, and Compost
The Basics of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers
Soils (FUTURE)
Compost (FUTURE)
Fertilizer: the Do's and Don'ts
Organic Fertilizers (FUTURE)
Inorganic Fertilizers (FUTURE)
Salt Tolerant Plants

Weed Management
Weed Identification and Lifecycles
Cultural Management Methods for Weed Control
Pruning for Weed Control (FUTURE)
Understanding Labels (FUTURE)
Alternatives to Chemical Herbicides (FUTURE)

Diseases and Insects
Integrated Pest Management (FUTURE)


Meyer, Mary H., White, D.B., and Pellett, Harold, Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates, Regents of the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. 1998.

Nebraska Cooperative Extension, "Ornamental Grasses in Nebraska Landscapes", G96-1310-A, Nebguide, Donald Steinegger, John Fech, Dale Lindgren, and Anne Streich. Revised May 1999.

North Carolina State University, "Ornamental Grasses", Hort on the Internet, Erv Evans, Updated August 2001.

North Dakota State University, Cass County Extension, "Ornamental Grasses", Dave DeCock.

Ohio State University Extension bulletin, "Ornamental Grass Evaluations", # 874-99, Amy K. Stone and Becky McCann.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, "Ornamental Grass Index of Species". Tom Voight. September 2, 1999.

University of Minnesota Extension, "Ornamental Grasses for Minnesota", INFO-U publication #464, Mary H. Meyer and Larry Zillox. 1998.

University of Rhode Island, "Ornamental Grasses", Greenshare, Dr. Brian Maynard.

University of Wisconsin , "Ornamental Grasses for Northern Landscapes," adapted from Northern Gardening website by Terry L. Yockey.

Revised 2016

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