Sea oats are attractive but watch for unwanted spread

The pendulous brown seed heads of sea oats are attractive in fall, but these seeds can spread the plant to unwanted spots. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: I would like to transplant sea oat grass from my daughter’s house to mine. When is the best time and method? Robby Rogers, email

A: Sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, are so easy to transplant that they will practically walk themselves over from your daughter’s house. Just dig a clump there and plant it at the same height in the soil at your house. You could harvest the brown seeds from her plants as well. Warning: Sea oats can become too friendly if they find nice environments in which to spread around your house. Keep an eye out for unwanted grassy sprouts in spring. Pull them out while the roots are still shallow.

Q: I am building a commercial dog kennel. Each run will have its own grass between concrete dividers. Which sod would be best for this type of project? Hope Grubbs, Meriwether County

A: The grass will receive a lot of wear and tear from the dogs, particularly if they are large or the ground is wet. In my experience, Bermuda grass is the quickest to bounce back from damage. I recommend “common” seeded Bermuda grass rather than a hybrid sod. Common Bermuda can spread by underground roots as well as seed. This grass, of course, will be brown in winter. But you might get some help by overseeding with perennial ryegrass in early October each year. Ryegrass stays green in winter.

Q: You have mentioned using granite dust as a soil amendment. I use a talc-like material that’s a waste product produced from sand-blasting names on granite grave markers. I mix it with coffee grounds and composted leaves. I don’t apply anything else to my garden. John Mihay, email

A: What you have is truly granite dust, mixed with a little aluminum oxide. I can see how this byproduct of sand-blasting slabs would be very fine in consistency. The “granite dust” I was referring to is sometimes called rock dust or stone dust. It is a byproduct of crushing granite into gravel. As you can imagine, in this process, there are a lot of small pieces that are screened from the larger ones. Even though it is called “granite dust,” the consistency is very gritty. As far as using either material for fertilizer, both contain slow-dissolving potassium and a few other minor nutrients. Chemically speaking, it might take 50 years for your dust to decompose and release its potassium, and it might take a century to release the potassium from my larger particles. Having said all the above, my first boss, Charlie Tucker, taught me an elemental truth: “You can’t argue with success.” If you are pleased with your garden harvest, you can use your granite dust with my blessings.

Listen to Walter Reeves' segments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.

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