The Villages - January 2009 - (Page 48)

Villages Greenery in the Landscape Muhly grass, short for Muhlenbergia capillaris, is a native of the United States and grows from Massachusetts to Texas and Mexico. The plants have rush-like, round, spiky foliage and normally grow from about 18 inches to 2 feet tall when not in bloom, but in bloom can top four inches in height. They bloom in the fall with masses of almost red to dark pink plumes that fade to tan as they age. Muhly grass grows and blooms best in full sun in well drained soil. We cut ours back about every 18 months or so to clear out the brown or dead foliage from the outside of the plants. If left alone in the landscape, this debris can accumulate and reduce the amount of water or fertilizer the plant receives, and they can start to thin out. Trimming is best done in the spring after the danger of a freeze has passed, or in July or August. The plants will start to produce the fall color in September and October, so if you cut them back too late you will be removing a portion of the blooms as well. They seem to do best and definitely put on the best show when they are planted in mass plantings of three or more plants. Muhly grass is produced by either the division of clumps or from seed, but the seed method can be a bit slow. In the right area they are considered a true xeric plant and require little to no supplemental irrigation after they are established. Muhly grass normally has very few pests, but I have seen isolated locations where they get heavily infested with some type of mealy bug. With the open foliage they have, these usually prove easy to control with an approved insecticide. MUHLY GRASS KNUDSEN’S KORNER Erik L. Knudsen The Villages Landscape Manager We have a new exotic critter in town that is really getting a lot of attention. It is called the Chilli Thrip, it is very tiny, and it is really causing problems with a lot of plants at The Villages. It has been in our area as far as we can tell for less than two years, but toward the end of this past summer populations really seemed to explode. Chilli Thrips are very small, about two millimeters long, which is about the size of a pencil dot on paper. The adults are green and difficult to see on the plants. The damage they do, however, is easy to spot. Depending on what plant they attack, the signs vary from looking like the plants were burned with a blow torch to stunted or curly leaves with a thickened scabby look on top and a bronze-colored lower leaf surface. It is really proving a challenge to control, as well. For more complete information, such as control measures, host plants and pictures of what they look like, simply Google Chilli Thrip. CHILLI THRIP JANUARY 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Villages - January 2009

The Villages - January 2009
The Happiest Losers
5K Fun Run
Top Medicine at Home
Sports and Recreation
Mission in Medicine
Club Gives Blood Together
Villages Greenery
Brain Exercises
Shopping & Dining Guide
Retail Briefs
Major Events

The Villages - January 2009