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Muhly Grass is an impressive native grass that has become very popular in all sorts of landscapes, not just native. Native grassed are wonderful for their tough character, drought and heat tolerance. They offer a contrasting texture in the landscape and GREAT late-season interest when they go into bloom in Fall and hold they inflorescences into winter. Muhly grass is just a bit past prime now in late December, but has had a fabulous season and still looks impressive.

Muhly grass is susceptible to infestations of Muhly Grass Mealybug, an insect thought to be native to Florida and moving around through the landscape trade. They appear as small white, cottony spots deep in the foliage of the plant. Severe infestations can cause the plant to decline and perform poorly. There is plenty of advice on other sites for how to treat this problem, but we are making this post because when we went out to cut back a few infected grasses that we noticed about a month ago and attempt to kill the insects - a large population of ladybugs was already working on the problem! Our takeaway for now is that when you have a naturally balanced, ecologically inviting landscape, the habitat is right for insect predators and little interference from you is needed. Sit back for a bit and give garden pests and diseases a chance to resolve themselves - often they do - especially in a native garden!

Muhly Grass in late October

Muhly Grass in late October
Ladybugs feeding on Muhly Grass Mealybug

UNO has recently completed the terms of a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant which enabled  the purchase and planting of certain areas of campus that are now part of their Urban Bird Trail.  NPI helped coordinate, plan and implement the plantings along with volunteers from Upward Bound Youth Group, Orleans Audubon, Master Naturalists, UNO students and other proactive citizens just wanting to contribute to the birding habitat on campus.  In addition to the Woodlot and Quandrant that were part of this volunteer effort, UNO has installed native gardens at two prominent locations on campus, the Administration Building and Fine Arts Building.  Below is a list of the numerous native species that can be seen at these locations on campus.

UNO Native Plantings

"Lawn is an ecological deadzone" says Doug Tallamy and yet it is the default option for so much of our landscaping.  This year's NPI exhibit at the NOLA Spring Garden Show, April 2nd and 3rd, will focus on ways property owners can reduce or eliminate their lawn area and replace them with native plantings that benefit the ecology.  For a more in-depth look at this topic and some of the alternatives to lawn, read THIS ARTICLE.  We hope you will also see us at the show!