Smooth Cordgrass - Spartina alterniflora
Smooth cordgrass, also known as marsh grass, can reach three to seven feet at full height near water. A medium-height grass grows behind the tallest version and the shortest grass, measuring under a foot high, may grow naturally in low-oxygen, low-elevation locations. The smooth cordgrass is green in the spring and summer and turns light brown in late autumn and winter. The plant produces a flowering stalk that blooms in July or August. Visible throughout the summer and the fall, these stalks look a bit like wheat or hay grass. Seedheads are between two and 10 inches long and between two to 10 "branches" grow off the main part of the plant. These flat "branches" overlap and produce a single flower. Narrow leaves are rolled upward and benefit from a strong and complicated root structure. The plant reproduces by both seed and rhizomes. It grows naturally in marsh areas as well as along the borders of bays and creeks. A common marsh plant, the smooth cordgrass can grow in large fields near creeks and provides a high level of nutrition to the area. In its natural growing areas, the smooth cordgrass easily survives flooding several times during a season with its complex root system. This helps prevent erosion and curb pollution in these areas. Amazingly, the smooth cordgrass can take fresh water out of salt water in times of need. For homeowners, this grass is a beautiful, naturalizing grass to incorporate into any landscape. Reaching between two and five feet in height, the grass enjoys a soil pH level of between 3.7 and 7.9 as well as full sun to partial shade. Growing well in zones three to nine, this type plant features grass plugs that return each year. This fast-growing grass thrives in many soil types and conditions and is easy to grow and provides a beautiful addition to any landscape.