(Our guest today in the NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN is Bob Henrickson, Assistant Director of Horticulture Programs with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum (NSA). Last week Bob wrote about how to design a Prairie Flower Garden in your home landscape.  Today he shares about plants that can be planted in your Prairie Flower Garden.



Here's a list of plants from which to choose for your prairie

  • Dominant tall grasses: Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), big
    bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
  • Dominant short grasses: little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
  • Subsidiary grasses: sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Canada wildrye (Elymus
    canadensis), prairie Junegrass (Koeleria pyramidata), prairie sedge (Carex bicknellii)
  • Shrubby wildflowers: leadplant (Amorpha canescens), New Jersey
    tea (Ceonothos Americana)
  • Tall cool season wildflowers: rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), white wild indigo (Baptisia lactea), Ohio spiderwort
    (Tradescantia ohioensis), tube penstemon (Penstemon tubaeflorus), mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)
  • Tall warm season wildflowers: wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), pitcher's sage (Salvia azurea), obedience plant (Physostegia virginiana), pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), prairie
    coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), Joe Pye plant (Eupatorium purpureum), thickspike gayfeather (Liatris
    pycnostachya), showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), sky blue aster (Aster azurea)
  • Short cool season wildflowers: purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), Missouri primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa), candle anemone (Anemone cylindrica), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum)
  • Short warm season wildflowers: wild petunia (Ruellia humilis), prairie onion (Allium stellatum), purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea), butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), black sampson (Echinacea angustifolia), plains coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata), dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata), Missouri black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia missouriensis), aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius)
  • Pioneer forbs: daisy fleabane (Erigeron strigosus), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta), upright prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera), shell-leaf penstemon (Penstemon grandiflorus), prairie ragwort (Senecio plattensis).


For more information on prairie plants contact the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum at (402) 472-7855, or go on line to www.arboretum.unl.edu.





          This past week I saw a sample of grass that was stressed and diseased.  Upon inquiry we found the homeowner had applied fertilizer in mid-April, a weed and feed (fertilizer) the end of May and then because the grass looked stressed and had some brown blades he put on another bag of regular strength fertilizer the middle of June. His approach to weak and light green grass was more fertilizer. We recommended that he apply a fungicide now for the disease (brown grass), and then NO MORE FERTILIZER until late fall (winterizer).

          This spring has been wet and cool.  Many plants have put on a tremendous amount of growth and will be under a lot of stress to support that growth when our hot Nebraska summer kicks in shortly. Thus more disease and insect problems are coming.  Plant diseases and insects love to attack weak and stressed grass, plants, shrubs and trees. Miracle-Gro (a fertilizer) will not help a plant recover that is under stress from a disease or insect problem. 

          The pest this week is the homeowner who did not get an informed diagnosis for his light green grass with some brown blades mixed in. He applied fertilizer thinking that would perk up his lawn. Some lawns may need a weak application with high iron this summer to restore nice green color.  But for grass with dead blades or blades that are spotted, a fungicide maybe the answer.

          Donít you be the pest of the week.  Donít apply fertilizer or a fungicide, or an insecticide unless it is needed.  Get an informed diagnosis and then apply the right chemical, at the right time, with the right dosage. To get that informed diagnosis, take a sample to your full service garden center, or call the Lancaster County Cooperative Extension Center at 441-7180.

July 3, 2004