Grasses: Knowns and Unknowns

Spring 2012 hit us early and fast. We’ve been doing winter cleanup, bed prep and spring planting all at the same time. And, in the midst of all that, we’ve been eagerly watching our “prairie” on this first year of no mow to see what’s out there. The good news is …

Beautiful buffalo grass with seedheads just waiting to help spread their prairie goodness.

We have several stands of healthy happy buffalo grass. We’re hoping that with no mowing, it’ll quickly outgrow any pesky non-natives. And for those more insistent undesirables — well, I’m happy to sit on a bucket and handpull anyone who doesn’t belong. (I’m looking at you, dandelions and crabgrass.)

Mystery patches

It turns out that grasses can be hard to ID, and few patches have left us scratching our heads.

Unknown grasses. To keep or not to keep, that is the question. If they're native prairie grasses, they get to stay. If not, they go bye-bye.

Unknown grasses. We'll leave them in place until we can ID them.

One unknown becomes known

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, we did identify one grass this week!

RESCUEGRASS Bromus catharticus

Rescue grass is easy to spot from its seedheads -- they're large and flat.

To keep or not to keep?

Rescue grass seems to have been introduced into the U.S. from South America in the early 1800s. Some sources list it as “native,” some say it’s been “naturalized” into our prairies … other sources label it a weedy invasive.  

What should we do?  Keep it or hand remove? Our “rule” has been to remove anything that’s not native to North American prairies, so my inclination is to pull out the rescue grass. But I’m just not sure.

One thing’s for certain … buffalo grass is a keeper!

Ahhh, buffalo grass is a beauty, ain’t it? Just looking at it makes me happy.

Next time … the challenge to ID continues

This entry was posted in Invasive or Native?, Previous Entries You May Have Missed and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Grasses: Knowns and Unknowns

  1. denisedthornton says:

    Grasses can be hard to identify and even harder to eradicate. Good luck!

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