Why plant Audubon® Native Prairie Cord Grass?
A big, bold, vigorous Fringe for wet soils! Prairie Cord Grass is a useful plant for people caring for wetlands on large properties. This tough, fast-growing native will colonize pond sides, streambanks, and bog margins, making a strong stand against the terrible Reed Canary Grass, an invasive, exotic plant that inevitably tries to take over these areas. Instead, Prairie Cord Grass will hold that space, while providing real benefits to the land and to wildlife. The dense root system keeps the soil from washing away, the foliage feeds several species of moths, and the leafy cover provides nesting habitat for secretive water birds.
One of our tallest native grasses, Prairie Cord Grass can reach seven feet tall in the rich, moist soils that it prefers. It makes imposing stands of foliage in its native haunts—the wetlands and low-lying meadows of the Midwest. It grows most abundantly there, though it can also be found throughout much of Canada and south to Oregon, Texas, and Tennessee. In late summer, Prairie Cord Grass waves its airy plumes high in the air. By fall, these wind-pollinated flowers have become seeds that feed ducks and geese.
How to use Audubon® Native Prairie Cord Grass in the landscape?
Prairie Cord Grass serves as a host plant for several moth species, some of which can only survive on Cord Grass. Just another reminder of the importance of growing a variety of native plants in your landscape—some animal species are very particular in their eating habits!
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Prairie Cord Grass
Site Prairie Cord Grass in full sun if possible; it will also accept a part-sun exposure. Constantly moist soil will produce the best results, although this plant will grow in regular garden soil as long as it doesn’t dry out too much. Prairie Cord Grass is a warm-season grower, which means that it gets off to a slow start in the spring. It quickly makes up for lost time, shooting up in late spring and early summer. It spreads steadily; do not site it next to delicate plants. You should know that Prairie Cord Grass’s leaf blades are razor-sharp—wear gloves when working with it!
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water very slowly and very thoroughly. The water needs to reach to the bottom of the root ball and that takes time. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.