Thursday, 3 November 2011

Maintenance of Grasses: Miscanthus Zebrinus

Oh yes, it's that time of year all right, I am now stripping grasses wherever I go!

The latest one is  Miscanthus zebrinus, which is a lovely upright, clumping grass, with bands of creamy yellow running across the leaves, rather than down the middle. It's quite slow to increase itself, which is what I usually find with what you might call "highly bred" grasses. Generally speaking, the closer a plant is to the original, the better and faster it grows, the tougher it is, the longer it lives.

So, how do we deal with this grass at this time of year?

Here is a clump "before": as you can see, very similar to the Sugar Cane that I talked about a couple of entries ago, in that the leaf sheath - the part that wraps around the stalk - dies off and goes brown, and can easily be pulled away to reveal a clear green stem.

This has the added benefit that you have fewer fronds blowing around the garden for weeks afterwards!

Once again, all you have to do is take each dead leaf in turn and pull it away from the stem.

This requires a little care: if you pull too hard, you risk bending or breaking the stem, which is bad: if you pull too sharply, the leaf part will break off, leaving the stem still encased in the dead sheath. This means you have to go back and do it again, this time slitting the sheath with a finger nail and peeling it carefully away.

Yes, as with my Sugar Cane, it's a job that I find is best done with bare hands.

And the result?

Nice clean stems, great reduction in the amount of dead brown "stuff",  generally better all round.

What do you mean, you can't see the difference?

Look again!

Actually, the difference is greater when seen from a distance, and the general effect is, I assure you, an improvement. 



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