Fertilizing Native Grasses.
I've been gardening for more than four decades without having to ever directly feed my native grasses.
With a little research and choosing Natives for your region and environment, once established, native plants have little need to be fertilized.
Yes, you can find native plants for most gardens, even desert gardens.
Native ornamentals generally do not benefit from supplemental feedings. Your typical garden soils offer adequate or sometimes more than enough to feed your ornamentals.
Adding concentrated chemicals to typical soils can actually hurt performance.
Excess fertility results in over lush growth and is likely to cause your plants to lose their shape and flop unmanageably.
This holds true if you plant in over fertile soils as well.
I have found that once established and with enough water, natives will perform quite well, and many will give you an extra foot of growth.
(Roots grow deep and feed feed plants even in drought conditions. Sure the clumps will be shorter, but generally continue to perform.)
This is especially true for highly nutrient - efficient natives like Andropogon, Panicum, Schizachyrium and Sorghastrum.
The last thing you want to have to do is stake up your large clumps to hold them upright. This is a particularly tedious task and is usually unnecessary if fertilizing is kept to a minimum and watering is at reasonable levels.
Natives are especially adapted to infertile soils such as Andropogon virginicus, may lose their natural competitive edge and be over run by other plants if nutrient levels are raised significantly.
Runners that are easily managed in average soils can become aggressive in your gardens.
To the point they are invasive in overly rich soils.
One last thing, the super-green growth associated with fertilizing can diminish the vibrancy of foliage variegation and can ruin the fall colors you expect.
Native ornamentals were created just for our native gardens and don't disappoint.
With proper care and water, natives out perform, and in my opinion do much better than non natives in any garden or situation.
There are so many varieties to choose from, that there is sure to be at least one for your landscape.
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