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Grasses at a Glance

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clumps of prairie dropseed in bloom next to a walkway

Add Prairie Dropseed to your home garden

Last fall I visited the Missouri Botanic Garden with my family, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they added a fair amount of grasses to the garden beds that greet visitors when they first enter the garden. Of course I had to explore and snap some pictures, likely making me one of the most...
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field of green blades of grass

Refresh your grass identification skills

Spring is here and plants are greening up and leafing out almost 3 weeks ahead of schedule! My neighbors and I have already been out and about doing yard work and getting ready for the new season.  As we shake off the winter doldrums and welcome new spring life, it’s time to refresh your plant...
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river oats seeds

Growing native grasses from seed

Over the past two months, I’ve been working with Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers to sort, clean, and package seeds of native plants we collected from pollinator gardens in the fall. We plan to give away these seeds at local programs that focus on supporting pollinators. It’s always...
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Green lawn grass with fallen leaves

What color is your lawn this fall?

As the days shorten and winter approaches, nature has taken on a bleaker appearance. Deciduous trees have lost their leaves, wildflowers have gone to seed, and many plants have taken on a straw to brown color as their aboveground growth dies for the season. How does your lawn look? One place that...
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woman holding clump of soil and roots

Going underground to explore the hidden benefits of grasses

Before the first hard frost came at the end of October, I planted many native plants around our new house. I brought some of my favorite plants with me in our move and was determined to get them planted this fall. One of the pots I brought with me had a Little Bluestem plant in it that I have been...
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infestation of Japanese Stiltgrass

Be on the lookout for invasive grasses

One of the reasons plant identification is so important is to help us tell the difference between plants that contribute to a healthy ecosystem and those that interrupt those interactions. Certain plants are exceptionally good at causing problems for natural communities, and require intervention...
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close up of the flowers of Gama Grass in bloom

Taking a closer look at grass pollination

It’s difficult not to notice grasses at this time of year – all of the large warm-season grasses seem to be in bloom. Have you taken a closer look at grass flowers? They are amazing to see in bloom, when the anthers and stigmas are visible. Grasses, as you may know, are wind pollinated. Unlike...
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group of Switchgrass in bloom

Identifying Switchgrass, a warm-season grass

If someone asked me to name the most iconic plants of the tallgrass prairie, I would start with the grasses. Who could talk about a prairie without mentioning grass? The top three grasses that scream “tallgrass prairie” are Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, and Switchgrass. Why? These are all robust,...
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Short, clumping grasses planted in a garden

Value of grasses in our managed landscapes

I am making plans to add some new garden beds in my backyard. Starting with a blank slate can be daunting, but there are certain questions I ask myself when considering if a plant makes the cut to go in the garden. Besides matching the growing condition requirements of the plants to the conditions...
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