Gardeners searching for a beneficial ground cover that will nourish the soil and fill in a growing area attractively often choose Indian grass. Gardeners plant Indian grass in prairie restoration projects and in areas that require erosion control. Indian grass is native to almost all of North America and grows abundantly during the warm seasons of the year. Indian grass can grow as tall as 7 feet with roots beneath the soil making up approximately two-thirds of the total measurement of the plant. This large root mass that Indian grass creates as it grows helps to enrich the soil.
Prepare the planting area in early spring. Work the soil with the garden spade down to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Add 2 inches of compost to the top of the soil and work this into the soil well. Use the garden rake to smooth the surface of the soil. Pass the roller over the entire surface to compact the surface slightly prior to planting Indian grass seeds.
Broadcast the seeds evenly over the planting area. Use a drop spreader to broadcast the seeds or broadcast the seeds manually. Spread 10 lbs. of seeds per acre.
Rake the planting area immediately after broadcasting the seeds to ensure that all of the seeds are in direct contact with the soil. Roll the area again after seeding.
Apply approximately 1 inch of straw mulch over the seeded area. Water the planted area lightly and keep the soil evenly moist as the grass becomes established. Do not allow the soil to dry out.
Wait to fertilize until the grass is growing abundantly and the grass is well established. Fertilizing prior to the grass being well established might encourage more weed growth. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations and apply the fertilizer once per month during the last half of the growing season.
Examine the growing area for weeds every two weeks during the first growing season. Small amounts of weeds are not worrisome; however, if you find large amounts of crabgrass you might consider spraying the weeds with an herbicide to eliminate them.
Mow the grass down to approximately 10 inches three times during the first growing season. This will inhibit weeds but will not harm the grass. During subsequent years, mow down to the same height again if you see abundant weeds. Do not mow if weeds are not a problem.
Things You Will Need
- Garden spade
- Garden rake
- Indian grass seeds
- Drop spreader (optional)
- Straw mulch
- Fertilizer (10-10-10)
- Glyphosate (herbicide)
- Some gardeners burn the grass in the spring before warm season plants begin to grow to control weeds. Burning also removes old grass growth and helps to maintain the vibrancy of Indian grass. If you decide to burn, consult local officials prior to using this technique to ensure you follow local ordinances and safety precautions.