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Native grasses - friend or foe?

News
Native grasses - friend or foe?
Published 22 November 2017
<p>Did you know native plant species are not only good for our local environment but they also save you money?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>Council has a plan to protect and nurture native grasses that includes a long-term trial to monitor the growth of native grasses in two key areas in our City.

Did you know native plant species are not only good for our local environment but they also save you money?

Council has a plan to protect and nurture native grasses that includes a long-term trial to monitor the growth of native grasses in two key areas in our City.The two areas are located on a corner of Womma Road and Whitford Bushland Reserve. These patches create beautiful swathes in spring, like the spear-grass pictured above, which is setting seed. We want to encourage nature to return to these reserves and the original grasslands to come back to life.

Native grass has so many benefits:

It can thrive in dry conditions and therefore requires less irrigation;

It is naturally more fire resistant than introduced species of grass because it is perennially (ie; always) green;

It enriches the soil by minimising erosion through its more established root system (as opposed to wild oats); and

Native grasses are generally shorter than introduced grasses, which helps with sight lines for safety around roads.

Over the course of the trial we have seen the composition of grasses in the trial areas change - there are now fewer wild oats and more native grasses, which is good news for bushfire season.These carefully selected patches of native grasses in the two reserves will be mown around to help them provide a refuge for tiny wildflowers as well as butterflies and other insects. Birds also love these areas to find grass seeds and insects for food and will often nest in nearby trees.

So if you find a patch of unmown native grass in these two areas, it will be a small sanctuary for wildlife. Grass will not encroach onto or over paths however, as we always leave a mowed buffer for walking safety.These unmown stands of native grass should not be confused with the introduced wild-oat grass which Council is currently battling to keep down following the recent rain.If you have tall grass in your area and wish to report, please do so at the Online Request link. Do native grasses attract snakes?In the warmer weather, we often hear concerns from our community about snakes, and how grass offers them a refuge and concealment.Snakes are found in all environments and are most likely to seek refuge in piles of wood, rubbish, burrows, holes and tree hollows.It's important to be aware most snake bites occur around the home, and usually after someone has tried to pick up or kill a snake.During spring and summer, we recommend you keep your yard clear of junk and debris, and don't approach any snake in your yard - call a local snake catcher. Have more questions about Snakes? Visit the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources HERE.