Growing Grass Successfully | TN

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How to Grow Grasses Successfully

Cattails and bulrush are vigorous native perennial grasses suitable for marshy ground. They form colonies well-adapted to poorly drained soil. Sturdy underwater roots, called rhizomes, can withstand winter freezing. These large aquatic plants offer erosion control, wildlife cover, nesting materials, and feed. They can even be grown in large pots submerged in manufactured pools and water features.

Soft stem bulrush grows in deep or shallow water, survives flooding and draining, and likes marshy ground and wooded wetlands. Bulrush can even withstand salt or brackish water.

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Common soft stem bulrush, also called giant, great bulrush, or bullwhip is generally known as Scirpus Validus or S. Validus. Some authorities list it as S. tabernaemontani. If you cannot find seeds or plants to buy, seek along the edges of waterways or ponds for a colony of thick green clumps as tall as 8 feet high. You can collect seeds almost any time of year. Recognize S. Validus by squeezing the stems.

Does the tough green tapering stem about an inch wide at the base feel soft and spongy? Is the clump a stand of stems with no blade-like leaves? Are the flowers and nutty fruits at the tip drooping in hanging ripe clusters with brownish bristled nutlets? Collect ripe fruit or seeds and leave some for the water birds, wildlife, and wrens.

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Tips on how to plant grasses

Plant the seeds in pots and offer them winter shelter with good light. Settle the pots in 3 inches of standing water. The seeds will germinate quickly. Let them grow under shelter, using a cold frame in the north until winter is over. When sprouts toughen into seedlings, plant them out where they will grow permanently. Let smaller seedlings grow in pots until summer, and then plant where you have already established the others.

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Cattails, or Typha, scatter their seeds on the wind in nature and are collected by deep-digging rhizome roots and re-settling plants in a new colony. Typha can be either narrow or broadleaf. The leaf is blade-shaped. The unique summer-flowering plume spikes mature into the familiar brown velvet pods which give them their name. Typha colonies can range from 3 to 10 feet tall. Their vigorous growth and old debris can blank out competition and access to the water. Typha marches boldly along irrigated field canals and wades into farm ponds and ditches. Holding ground and impeding siltation make cat tails pioneers in a landscape transitioning from aquatic marshland to new growth fields. 

Successful control of robust aquatic grasses may require mowing, trimming, dredging, flooding, and freezing.

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Cattail Plant - TN Nursery

Cattail Plant

The Cattail Plant is a wetland species with long, slender, spear-like leaves and distinctive brown, cylindrical flower spikes commonly found in marshes, ponds, and other aquatic habitats. The cattail plant (Typha) is a group of 30 tall marsh grasses growing like reeds. Their tall, slender stalks and distinctive brown, fluffy, flowered heads make them an interesting addition to any landscape. They are excellent ways to elevate the beauty of your landscape for those who have a garden near a lake or want to emulate the tranquility of country cottages. Transform Your Space With Cattail Plant Whether planted alone or in clusters, they add rustic charm and delight to any garden. While they make striking visual statements, they don't overwhelm surrounding foliage or fauna. Instead, their neutral colors and lengthy, slim stalks create a grounding effect ideal for filling space and centering your collection. Create a Wildlife Oasis With Cattail Plant Invite more wildlife into your yard with them, which thrive near water and can be integral to a thriving pond ecosystem. They provide safety and coverage for many bird species and serve as food for many herbivorous animals. The good news for many gardeners is that Typha is typically not known to attract bumblebees, so you can add visual depth and beauty to your garden without bringing too many pollinators to the space. The good news is that they do not require much human interference to thrive. As long as they are put in the right environment, they will flourish effortlessly. Their widespread adaptability makes them an ideal choice for both experienced and novice gardeners. Embrace Eco-Friendly Landscaping With The Cattail Plant Sustainable gardening is vital to improving our climate and supporting local ecosystems. They are excellent water purifiers, absorbing excess nutrients while their roots help prevent soil erosion. They also serve as a source for many types of fish, so if you have a pond with marsh feeders, they may enjoy adding them to their aquatic home. Incorporating Cattail Plants into your backyard ecosystem can support a brighter planet for all animals and contribute to a more sustainable, greener future.

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6 Pack - Bulrush Plugs - TN Nursery


Bulrush offers a range of benefits when integrated into landscaping projects. These versatile plants, commonly found near water bodies, bring a distinct and natural charm to outdoor spaces while serving functional and ecological roles. Enjoy Color-Changing Foliage Of Bulrush Plugs Bulrush plugs have long, floppy, dark green stems that are triangular. The spongy stems support spikey blossoms that occasionally sag and reach just below the stem's tip. Each flower spike usually produces anywhere from 50 to 100 blooms that range from 1.5 to 4.5 inches in length each spring. The leaf blades' characteristic "V" shape gives them a sheath-like appearance as they round the lengthy stem. Depending on the kind, flowers can be any yellow, red, or brown shade. The most color change tends to occur towards the end of fall. Create Dramatic Silhouettes With Bulrush The upright growth of their long, thin stems makes them a dramatic vertical feature in any setting. Their tall stalks provide a striking visual contrast when seen against a water background. The foliage is verdant and showy in the spring and summer, with large spikes of flowers. It can take on a golden or brown hue in the fall, creating a cozy background. The plugs form striking silhouettes against the sky, particularly at dawn or sunset. Bulrush Can Get Up To 10 Feet Tall Their delicate texture produces lots of textural contrast when combined with the robust leaves of broad-leaved plants. They also pair well with the fluffy plumes of ornamental grasses. Their tall, thin stems and growth patterns give their surroundings a sense of height and depth. They can get up to 10 feet tall. Bulrush has deep root systems that help keep soil in place. This is especially beneficial in areas with freshly exposed soil and sloped banks. Many people use them for wetland reclamation projects. These plants act as wind barriers when grown in clusters or rows, further helping with erosion control. These wind barriers can also double as natural privacy screens. Another way that they improve soil vitality is by absorbing harmful metals and bacteria. This reduces water pollution, making the soil healthier and less likely to erode.

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