Types of Grass for Roads

Barren expanses of concrete road can be depressing to say the least, and nothing brightens up a street like greenery. Grass is an excellent tool to add life to a dull road. There are many types of grass that can survive in even the most nutrient poor and disturbed roadside soils.

Big Bluestem

Native to a large portion of the United States, as well as Canada, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is a vigorous perennial clumping grass that can grow in a wide range of conditions. Ideal for a low or no maintenance roadside in need of color, big bluestem is a blueish green, tall growing grass that boasts copper colored seedheads. The grass will grow in full sun in sandy or clay soils, and in acidic or alkaline conditions. Once the plant is established, it becomes very drought tolerant.

Switchgrass

Native to the midwestern prairies, as well as prairies of the southeast United States, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is an aggressive and hardy grower that will tolerate a range of moisture conditions. Boasting green or reddish green blades, switchgrass will grow in many different soil types, although it usually won't do well in heavy clay. Switchgrass will often grow in the disturbed soils after a fire, and the plant has moderate salinity tolerance. For roads that are a little bit shady and wet, switchgrass is a good choice. The grass will grow in full sun and partial shade, and switchgrass can tolerate spring floods.

Wallaby Grass

Native to temperate regions in Australia, Wallaby grass is a hardy perennial grass that produces fluffy white seedheads. The plant grows in sunny locations, in both sandy loams and clay soils. Tolerant of high frost, drought and heat, Wallaby grass is excellent for disturbed soils or for the nutrient poor soils near roads. Wallaby grass will also grow in highly acidic soils, although it dislikes being overly wet. The Bidgee Wallaby grass variety (Austrodanthonia fulva) is particularly suited for infertile soils.

Keywords: road grass, grass types, roadside grass

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.