Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

Grasses are known to be the most flourishing plant groups on the earth. This is not only because they are found growing in nearly all environments, but also for the reason that they take over large tracts of this planet. Since grasses have evolved extremely, they have the aptitude to make the most of any prospect that may come up. Grasses produce copious amounts of seeds, which are mostly scattered by the wind. This particular aspect helps the grasses to be prepared to overrun any new location that may be accessible to them. Therefore, there is little doubt that being the forerunners, grasses are indeed highly flourishing.

Grasses generally have strong roots that easily make their way into the soil, thereby enhancing the soil surface and also assisting in absorbing as well as retaining water. In addition, the roots also help to truss the soil, assisting in deterrence of soil erosion by water and wind - an attribute that is often taken advantage of by landscapers these days, especially those who require evening out a recently prepared gradient. In due course, the humus produced by the decomposed grass leaves helps to augment the fertility of the soil, facilitating other plants to set themselves up.

In the beginning, only the plant species that are in no way contending with the dominancy of grass are capable of getting a footing. Trees, for instance, whose roots develop underneath those of the grass, appear in due course. As the ecosystem develops, the resilience of grass is assessed in tricky situations. But when a balance is struck, the primary species of grass may be substituted partially by other forms of grasses that have enhanced adaptableness to succeed in the existing conditions. The aptitude of grasses to quickly act in response to the ecological gauntlets and in so doing to develop into several vastly modified species have actually helped grasses to be all-pervading.

It is worth mentioning here that ornamental or showy grass is an extremely favoured type of plants used for landscaping. In fact, ornamental grasses possess all the attributes that are required to beautify any setting. It is never ever possible to replace the appearance, quality as well as hues of ornamental grasses by using any other plant.

Besides, it is comparatively unproblematic to nurture as well as maintain ornamental grasses and they are also free from diseases as well as pests compared to other plants. However, when you are growing ornamental grasses, you need to ensure that you do not apply excessive fertilizers to these plants. When you provide excessive fertilizers to ornamental grasses, it results in their unnecessary growth, eventually making them uncontrollable and they often change their form too. The ideal time to chop down the dead growth of ornamental grass from the earlier season is early spring. In addition, when some of the grasses grow excessively tall, they need to be pruned, and if the blades of the grass have turned out to be stiff and course, they required trimming. It is advisable that when you are chopping down the taller grasses, you should keep them approximately six inches higher than the ground. On the other hand, the smaller grasses may be ideally trimmed to about two inches higher than the ground.

It is interesting to note that man's changeover from wanderer to peasant is believed to have occurred owing to the existence of cereal grasses in the mountainous regions of middle Asia, and civilization dawned in this manner. In the early days, people just collected grass growing in the wild, but, as time progressed, they began to sow grass seeds and harvest the plants. In effect, wheat, rice, barely, millet and oats also belong to the category of plants called grass. For a major chunk of the global populace these still remain the staple food and in the wealthier nations, people supplement these products with meat, which again is produced by using grass and cereals as fodder for animals.

Besides being a major source of food, people have benefitted from grasses in several other ways. While people in ancient Egypt used papyrus to make paper, in Japan people continue to use soft rush (Juncus effuses) to make traditional mats for domestic use. Bamboo is also a grass and people inhabiting the tropical climatic regions, where bamboo grows in abundance, use it in the form of a building material. In addition, they also utilize bamboo for a host of other purposes ranging from water pipes, screens and fences, to support cement and also in the form of scaffolds for apartments meant for dwelling and office purpose.

Besides its realistic or useful attributes, people have also appreciated the aesthetic values of grasses since long. In fact, grasses, especially bamboos, are indispensable components of Japanese as well as Chinese garden art, wherein they are frequently employed together with water. Even people engaged in the business of flower arrangement have taken advantage of the delicate attributes of grass to offer weightlessness as well as distinction using more ornamental flowers, like the artists throughout the world.

On the other hand, it is unfortunate that from the time when civilization began, grasses have always been in the line of fire from man. Most importantly, man has often opted for the immense open plains across the world as perfect sites to set up farms, build towns and cities, construct roads, establish factories. As a result of this invasion of the grasslands by man, the vast expanses of cereal crops have also undergone a change of character eternally. In addition, the swamps, together with their complicated, but balanced bionetworks, are facing a growing hazard. Therefore, it is important that we realize our responsibilities and work towards protecting these inimitable environments from becoming extinct. We need to bear in mind that grasses uphold the contemporary society and, simultaneously, represent the innate world, which the present society appears to be determined to obliterate.

Varieties of ornamental grasses

Generally, all ornamental grasses are broadly categorized into two groups - the warm season grass and the cool season grass.

The category called cool season grass begins to grow immediately when the atmospheric temperature increases beyond the freezing point during spring. During this time of the year, the cool season grass regularly has the most vivid foliage. By the beginning of summer, these grasses start blossoming and their growth retards. It may be noted that cool season ornamental grasses get along marvellously with diminutive spring bulbs, such as Kaufmanniana tulips or Scilla. This variety of ornamental grasses is an excellent selection for growing in locales where the growing season is very brief.

The warm season ornamental grasses start growing rapidly during the later part of spring and early summer. On the other hand, the cool season ornamental grasses start growing during the beginning of the spring. There are numerous favourite cool season ornamental grasses, including blue oat grass, fescues as well as autumn moor grass. The well-liked warm season ornamental grasses comprise the hardy pampas grass, northern sea oats, and the fountain grass, in addition to the switch grass.

It needs to be kept in mind that cool season ornamental grass loathes to be transplanted when the weather is hot, as their roots do not grow during this time. Nevertheless, this type of ornamental grass may be transplanted excellently during the spring as well as in fall.

Conversely, the ornamental grass categorized as the warm season grass begins to grow at a later stage during the spring. Often, you may also be mistaken to consider them to be dead. This type of ornamental grass begins to blossom during the period between the middle to late summer and the flowering is prolonged till the first frost of the season. Warm season ornamental grass has a wonderful appearance during the later stage of the season. However, they also have the aptitude to beautify your garden during the spring. For example, the species Pennisetum alopecuroides usually begins to grow right in time to camouflage the foliage from the previous show of the tulips.

For optimum growth, the warm season ornamental grasses need a warm soil temperature for approximately two weeks prior to their beginning to grow during the spring. This type of ornamental grass loathes having its roots bothered when the weather is cold. Hence, warm season grasses ought to never be plowed for transplanting prior to their showing indications of fresh growth. This type of ornamental grass is really sensitive regarding this issue. What is more, when they begin to flower, the warm season grasses have already left the season for plowing behind.

The families of grasses
How grasses grow
The life of grasses
Growing grasses
Grasses in containers
Propagating grasses
Maintaining grasses
Grasses' pests & diseases


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