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Saturday - September 18, 2010

From: Saint Marys, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for hill in Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Is there a native grass or grasses I can mow on a hill that faces south and is too large to water in Saint Marys County, Maryland?


Mr. Smarty Plants is a little confused and thinks some translation needs to be done on your question.  I am confused about the 'mow' part of the question and think perhaps you meant to say 'sow'?  Assuming that's the case, here is how you can choose some grasses for the hill.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH  in our Native Plant Database by selecting 'Maryland' from Select State or Province and 'Grass/Grass-like' from Habit (general appearance).  This will give you more than 340 grasses or grass-like plants native to Maryland to look through.  You can shorten the list by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option. Since I don't the other characteristics of the hill I can't be sure what choices you need to make.  For instance, if your hill is in sun and dry and you want the grass to be less than 3 feet tall, you would select 'Sun -' from LIGHT REQUIREMENT, 'Dry-' from SOIL MOISTURE and both '0-1' and '1-3' from HEIGHT (IN FEET).  This would narrow the list to 15 species.  (The characteristics you put in, of course, will change the number of species in the list.) You can open the links for each of the grasses and find that many of them will tolerate other growing conditions as well.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you specifically if these are native to Saint Marys County.  For most states it is possible to find this out by scrolling to the bottom of our species page and clicking on the species link by the USDA under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.  This will take you to the USDA Plants Database.  Clicking on the state on the Distribution Map (or on its abbreviation in the list below the map) on the USDA page would show you a map of the state with counties highlighted where the plant has been found.  However, the USDA Plants Database doesn't have that information for Maryland for some reason.

With all that said and done, here are several grasses and sedges native to Maryland that are commercially available that should work on your hill.  You, of course, can search for more that meet your specific requirements.

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Bromus kalmii (Arctic brome)

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie junegrass)

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed)

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bromus kalmii

Carex blanda

Carex pensylvanica

Koeleria macrantha

Sporobolus heterolepis





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