Gardening Magazine

Good Riddance Northern Sea Oats

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

Just short of four years ago, I raved about a plant that I had only recently discovered at that time.
I implore you to please ignore that post as I am here today to take everything back I had gleefully written on that balmy July afternoon in 2010.
I can now state with 100% confidence that I despise and will never entertain the idea of planting a Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats) again in my life. In fact, in terms of worst garden decisions I've ever made, planting a mass of NSO in a moist and open location ranks only behind my asinine decision to plant mint in a raised bed that had zero means of containing said thug.
While the grass has its appeal with the oh so pretty little oats.        
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
It reseeds like a mutha f'er in every possible nook and cranny and they are impossible to pull out cleanly.
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
In the Fall of 2012, I attempted to control the reseeding by cutting the grasses down early and removing the "oats".    
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
That failed miserably and did not make a dent in my quest to control the seedlings from taking over. They were everywhere that spring. I was SOL with the NSO and it made me an angry SOB, PDQ.
  
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
As this spring approached I looked back on some of my old photos to see if I could justify keeping these around any longer. As you can see in the pic below, they aren't exactly "appealing to the eye" in front of the three Panicum 'Northwind'. Yes, you can question my design sense with that combo, but you really can't question the fact that these ain't all that good looking.
 
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
While I am kind of the king of over promising and under delivering (for proof, click here and here) I vowed to finally take corrective action this spring. And I am happy to report that is exactly what this world class gardener recently accomplished.
I dug out and disposed of the mass of Northern Sea Oats and a trillion seedlings, planted two new Clethra 'Ruby Spice' in their wake, placed cardboard down over a large section of the "affected" area and mulched heavily.
Good riddance Northern Sea Oats
It is truly only a start, but "Operation NSO Removal" is underway.
More to come.

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