Grasses are a dynamic group of plants that add color, movement, soil stability, water retention, wildlife food and habitat to the landscape. 

Grasses are divided into two categories, cool season and warm season.  Cool season grasses tend to be evergreen and produce most of their growth in the spring and late fall when air and soil temperatures are cooler.  Cool season grasses include our lawn grasses such as bluegrass and fescue. 

Warm season grasses begin their growth when daily temperatures reach 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Warm season grasses are particularly suited to producing most of their growth in the heat of summer and are very drought tolerant.  At the higher temperatures warm season grasses have a greater potential photosynthetic rate and use nitrogen and phosphorus more efficiently than do cool season grasses. This makes some varieties of warm season grasses ideal for stormwater mitigation facilities such as  rain gardens and bioswales where nitrogen and phosphorus levels can be high from storm water runoff.

Ohio Native Grasses are classified as warm season grasses and therefore make excellent grasses for all kinds of landscape uses.  Warm season grasses are known for their extensive fibrous root systems that holds soils and slows stormwater runoff making them effective for sediment and erosion control. 

Root systems of the grasses as well as some wildflowers Reprinted from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Illinois Native Plant Guide, Illinois Native Plant Guide: Root Systems of Prairie Plants

Root systems of the grasses as well as some wildflowers

Reprinted from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Illinois Native Plant Guide, Illinois Native Plant Guide: Root Systems of Prairie Plants