New ebook available on gardening with native grasses

Landscaping and gardening with grasses and sedges is a growing trend, providing homeowners with a low-maintenance yet aesthetically pleasing option for their yards and gardens. In an effort to make relevant information readily available to homeowners, Professor Mary Meyer and Diane Narem in the Department of Horticultural Science recently published an all encompassing guide grasses titled Gardening with Native Grasses in Cold Climates and A Guide to the Butterflies They Support.

Meyer and Narem’s guide begins with an introduction to common native grasses of the northern Midwest and their benefits. Chapter 3 of the guide highlights the “nativars” of each species, a word used to describe cultivated iterations of a native plant. The characteristics and growing conditions are also described in detail to give gardeners and landscapers a better idea of which grasses make the most sense for their projects.

The latter portion of the guide goes over how to plant and then maintain these grasses, in hopes of helping gardeners optimize their growing process. Most of the native grasses mentioned in the guide only need to be watered until they’re properly established. This trait is particularly helpful for gardeners who don’t have the time to meticulously maintain their greenery. The ebook also includes instructions for removing old growth and cutting back, along with how to protect grasses from pests and pathogens.

Part of the appeal of using native grasses over other ornamental grasses is the benefit they have as part of the ecosystem. A unique feature of the ebook is the inclusion of charts showing which flowers work well together with which grasses to attract certain species of moths and butterflies. Native grasses benefit these insects during their larval stage, and pairing grasses with the corresponding wildflowers will provide food for the insect’s adult stages.

Narem and Meyer’s guide is available on the Apple iBooks store for free and is an essential resource for gardeners looking to delve into the increasingly popular world of native grasses.

By Gabe Sinner