Contributors to this thread:
Miscanthus X Giganteus Rhizomes
What is the difference between the reeds (phragmite) that grow all over the swamps of New Jersey and Miscanthus X Giganteus Rhizomes. The plant looks the same & so do the roots. Reeds also get very tall and grow very dense. Any thoughts or help on this would be great. I emailed this question to a few companies that sell Miscanthus X Giganteus Rhizomes and never got a straight answer. They were very short on there answers, like I was bothering them. Anyway thanks for your help TROP
Phragmites, I don't know much about it, but have seen it from Buffalo NY to Rockford IL, along the interstate. Looks to be great cover, although I don't see much roadkill where it is thick..
I have some Miscanthus G, planted it 3 years ago. Learned a couple things, it doesn't like to be too wet and it can't take any root competition at all. Native grasses will smother it out in a season or two. Mine is 9' tall now, but not increasing in width as fast as I would like it. If you want it for a screen, you have to plant 4 rhizomes wide. 4' total, IME.
I'm thinking switchgrass and eastern red cedars will be my route from here on out.
Phragmites are horribly invasive and you do not want them. Lots of mines around me planted them years ago to clear bonds showing that the ground will allow growth - they will grow on anything.
Miscanthus is sterile and not invasive
I have a bunch of mischanthus planted as screens. It's does a great job and is not an aggressive spreader by any means. Does grow 10+ ft tall as advertised.
I have killed it areas I no longer wanted it with gly. No real issues that I have seen for being afraid of it.
Note that I am in Ohio so it goes dormant/dies back in winter. Not sure how it would react in different climates.
Yes, as Todd mentioned avoid Phragmites at all costs. They are listed invasive in most (if not all) states and are crazy aggressive (the stuff in the medians is actually ruining roads with their rhizomes). You might consider reaching out to your local Master Gardener/University Extension office- often they have detailed information about each.
I started my miscanthous journey this year as a screen from my road and neighbor, it is super finicky to start and i had about 30 percent not make it, had extra so put it in. It does stay good in the bags for quite awhile. Grows pretty fast but does seem very sensitive. I hope it takes less maintenance after the first year cause it has been a pain in the ass.
I did a thread on here on planting my miscanthus a couple years back. (miscanthus screen planting) I have one stretch of screening that has turned out great, and several others that were either total disasters or marginally successful, due to several factors. Weather, weed pressure, etc. If I had to do it over again, I doubt I’d do it again. Like MDcrazyman said, it’s a PITA. I’m in the process of prepping the perimeter of one of my plots to frost seed switchgrass this winter. Miscanthus would be a better choice for a screen, where a lot of height is needed, but on this plot, the switch will be plenty tall enough, and hopefully WAY easier to get established.
Use Kanlow switchgrass if you want robust tall switch. I have 3rd Kanlow that is pushing 8’ tall. I planted 9 acres of switch with a mix of of Cave-in-rock and Kanlow. I mixed it 4 parts CIR to 1 part Kanlow. If I had to do it over I would either use all Kanlow or a small percentage of CIR
RIT.....The switch I bought was from Realworld (I’ve got a buddy that sells their products) It’s not the “bedding in a bag” It’s straight switch. Says in their description, that it’s the best!! Says that it’s better than Cave-in-rock, so it could very well be the Kanlow. No indication on the seed tag (must be proprietary!)
I too have had a tough go with MG. Finicky and doesn’t like competition. Needs full sun. Put some around my tower blind and did poorly from partial shade.
I planted MG about 7 years ago and am not impressed. The bottom leaves have fallen already like corn does at this time of year. I would go with switch Kanlow instead for a good screen p. If you go the MG route make sure you plant a lot of them to make that screen work.
The common differences between the two are that Phragmite grows in wet areas, typically areas that are covered most of the season with water such as swamps. Phragmite is very invasive in wet areas but does not seem to do well in dry areas. As far as for bedding, generally they offer good cover but deer don't want to lay down in wet areas for long unless heavily pressured during gun season. Deer will use them for a quick escape. Miscanthus is grown in full to partial sun and avg. to dry soils. Mischanthus generally does not like wet feet (don't plant in wet or mostly shaded areas). Miscanthus is a clump forming grass and generally in most colder climates it is not invasive. Miscanthus is ground hardy to about -15 to -20 degrees. I have seen them die off in NY in prolonged cold periods without snow cover. Best to mulch them in the first season to retain moisture and for winter protection. This will help survival rate. Watering them a few times until rooted in and through drought the first season will be needed but only through the first summer. Once established these will not need to be watered at all. These plants generally do not do much the first season as far as spreading is concerned but by the 3rd or 4th season they will clump out to around 4' so space them out especially if you are planting multiple rows of them as a screen and allow time to grow in. It maybe a good idea to plant10-12 feet behind some Egyptian Wheat the first season or 2 and then just go with the Miscanthus as it will come back year after year at no additional cost. Once you have it you do not have to purchase it as you can dig up and divide the clumps you have in the spring time if you want or need more plants. The switch grass is a better choice for bedding areas as it is more accessible than Miscanthus but the Miscanthus will make an excellent entry/exit screen for sure. It will also screen out a nearby road, trail or neighbors sight line into your food plots. I believe a single row planted 3-4' on center will grow thick enough to act as any type of screen. Don't plant too many rows for a screen or deer will bed up against it and you will blow them out on your way in or out. Good thing about it is deer will not eat the Miscanthus as they will do with many plot screens that use sorghum, sunflowers or other edible plant seeds. Good luck if you choose to use it as a screen.