Gardening Magazine

Taming the Northern Sea Oats

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

I had been dying to get outside and in the garden so I could get my hands dirty. It had been way too long. 
So this past weekend, I grabbed my battery powered hedge clippers, kissed the family goodbye and headed into the mess that is my dying, wet garden.
There was a simple task at hand; cut down all of the Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium):         Taming the Northern Sea Oats
Now normally, I leave all of the perennials and grasses up all winter to provide some level of winter interest and to provide food and shelter for the birds.
I'm thoughtful like that.
But with the Northern Sea Oats, it's time to treat them with kid's gloves:      
Taming the Northern Sea Oats
You see, these grasses reseed like mad. You can call them invasive in the right situation, which apparently is just what my landscape provides.
You can see all of the dying seedlings here:    
Taming the Northern Sea Oats
And there are plenty other seedlings that popped up out of the blue in different areas of the yard:
Taming the Northern Sea Oats
So my goal this year was to cut them down in the fall (of course, I wanted to do this weeks ago) and hopefully minimize the rampant reseeding. I realize I can't account for each and every seed, but I'll do my best to do just that.
So the haircut went down:
Taming the Northern Sea Oats
Taming the Northern Sea Oats
And now we wait and see what kind of impact this will have next spring/summer.
I really hope to keep these guys around for years to come as they are reliable and interesting from spring to winter. But if this reseeding nonsense continues down this not so great path, I'll cut my losses and move on.

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