I recently attended a class on identifying grasses and weedy grasses, sponsored by the Illinois Turfgrass Foundation. The class was led by Dr. Tom Voigt, Professor of Horticulture from the University of Illinois. The class was very informative, but at the beginning of the class, he asked if there were any questions about any grasses.
I always seem to have questions and I had one for which I have been seeking an answer to for many years. I asked Tom, as well as the rest of the attendees, if they ever came across a patch of grass in a lawn that looks extremely frayed at the tips. It looks like long hairs coming from the tips of the grass blades, such as what you see in the picture to the right.
Tom knew exactly what I was asking and he said that he actually had some samples of the type of grass that I was describing. It is called Hardy Fountain Grass and it is an escaped ornamental grass that is showing up in many lawns.
Where Does Hardy Fountain Grass Prosper?
Ornamental grasses are becoming more popular in home landscapes due to their hardiness and variety of shapes, colors and growth habits. Hardy Fountain Grass is one of the more cold tolerant varieties, which allows it to prosper in cool season lawns. There are numerous cultivars of Fountain Grass and they range in size from small, dwarf varieties to large majestic varieties that can exceed 6 feet in height.
How Do I Control Escaped Hardy Fountain Grass?
Hardy Fountain Grass has a very tough fiber within the blades that resists mowing. About the only way to cut it would be with a mower that spins at a very high RPM and has razor sharp cutting edges. If this grass is showing up in your lawn, you can try digging it out or spray it with a non-selective herbicide like Roundup®.
I am happy that I finally have an answer to a question that has bugged me for years. What questions do you have? Ask me a question, and I’ll happily provide an answer.