En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Native Indiangrass as a hedge

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 13, 2009

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native Indiangrass as a hedge
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a grass hedge as a foundation planting for a portion of our garden. One side of the planting is a concrete sidewalk to our garden shed, the other side will eventually consist of a bed of native flowering plants. Indiangrass appears to have the look we're after, but I'm afraid it will look sparse in places and may tend to spread. We're also concerned that Indiangrass won't hold an erect posture and will lay down over the walkway. I would really appreciate your opinion. Thank you very much, you're a key resource for us.

ANSWER:

This Mr. Smarty Plants happens to love Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) and it would make a lovely hedge for about four months of the year!  It is not evergreen and right now in December after the first hard freeze it is tall, brown and brittle.  It will stay that way until spring (March or April) when new green shoots will begin to emerge from the roots.  It will reach its maximum height and fullness around August and September and then become brown and brittle again after the first hard freeze.  It is beautiful and should remain tall and erect and you should be able to contain any spreading, but there is going to be a lot of the year when you aren't going to have a real green grass hedge in place—just brown, brittle stems.  If you can live with that, then it would be a wonderful grass to use. 

There are some alternatives, however. None of the true grasses are going to be evergreen, but you might consider the grass-like Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista).  It is not as tall as Indiangrass (only 2 to 2.5 feet) but it is evergreen, looks like a grass and has an attractive bloom.  It would remain in place as a low evergreen hedge all year long.  Another possibility would be  Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush).  It grows generally 2 to 5 feet high and 4 to 6 feet in width, but can be shaped by pruning.  The common version has gray-green leaves, but there are also varieties with very green leaves.  It also has dark pink or purple flowers. Still another evergreen shrub that would make a nice hedge is Morella cerifera (wax myrtle).

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Sorghastrum nutans

Nolina texana

Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Recommendations for plants under sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree
March 12, 2011 - We have an area under sugar maple trees and near white pines. We cannot get any grass to grow. There is little moisture and no sun in the summer. We live 25 miles north of Nashville, TN. Can you r...
view the full question and answer

Move Roses or Ornamental Grasses in Crown Point, Indiana
September 15, 2010 - I have two ornamental grasses that grew real wide this year. They are blocking three big knock out roses that are four foot tall and four foot wide. My question is which one would be easier to dig up ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Lawn Maintenance in Colorado
March 20, 2010 - When do I begin to fertilize and water my grass in Colorado Springs? I am selling my house and want my lawn to look green?
view the full question and answer

Native aparejograss and Water-cress at a spring in Horeshoe Bay TX
February 24, 2012 - AT a small spring that seeps from a rocky hill on my ranch near Austin, a stringy grass called aparejograss has replaced the watercress that used to be there. Should I be worried? Does the appearance...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center