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Nimble Weed Muhlenbergia schreberi

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
mew-len-BERG-gee-uh shre-BER-ee
Description

Muhlenbergia schreberi, or Nimblewill, is a fine-textured, mat-forming native perennial grass. It is characterized by slender stems, erect early season growth, and narrow leaves that jut out horizontally in different directions. In the fall, panicles of spikelets rise above the foliage. They are 3-15 inches long, one-inch wide, purplish-green, and silky. With maturity, the plant tends to sag and grow more horizontally. Reproduction is by seeds and stolons. The root system is fibrous and this grass can reproduce vegetatively by forming rootlets along the lower nodes of its culms. Even though it doesn't have rhizomes, this grass often forms colonies.

Nimblewill tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but it prefers to grow in disturbed areas as fields, along roads, woodland edges or railroad tracks in partial sun and loam, sandy or rocky soils. It tolerates clay soil, full sun, and dense shade. This grass is considered a weed by many but it is also sold as a native warm-season grass alternative in the south. It turns a distinctive tan color in the winter.

A warm season grass, it is easy to pull from the ground, but any small piece left behind will start new growth. It is durable in the face of moderately cold temperatures and invasive bug species.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#partial shade#weed#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#warm-season grass#weedy grass#perennial weed#native
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#partial shade#weed#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#warm-season grass#weedy grass#perennial weed#native
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Muhlenbergia
    Species:
    schreberi
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    warm-season grass
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast Canada, North America, to Mexico and Brazil
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds will eat the seeds. Livestock will eat young shoots.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Multi-stemmed
    Prostrate
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Caryopsis
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    After the blooming period, the florets are cross-polinated by the wind. Mature spikelets then disarticulate above their glumes and fall to the ground. The grains are tiny, spindle-shaped (fusiform), and brownish.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The grass-like upper culms terminate in narrow panicles of spikelets about 2 to 8 inches long that are grayish-green, purplish green, or silvery green. Each panicle has a central stalk (rachis), short erect branches (up to 2" long), and a spike-like appearance and rather shiny during the period of bloom. The spikelets are narrowly lanceoloid in shape; each spikelet has 1 or 2 tiny glumes, a single awned lemma, and a membranous palea enclosing a perfect floret. The bodies of the lemmas are as long as the spikelets; they are narrowly lanceolate, convex along their outer surfaces, longitudinally 3-veined, and finely hairy toward their bases. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early autumn. The florets are cross-pollinated by the wind.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The gray-green or blue-green leaves are up to 3½ inches long and 1/5 of an inch across. They are smooth and ascending to widely spreading. The leaf blades are either flat or furrowed longitudinally with parallel venation. Leaves are rolled in the bud. The leafy culms of this grass are initially erect, but they have a tendency to sprawl later in the year when their inflorescences develop. The culms are light green to pale purple (less often bright red), terete, and glabrous; they are often decumbent at their bases and abundantly branched above. The leaf blades are either flat or they are furrowed longitudinally (often with a central furrow and 2 smaller lateral furrows). The leaf sheaths are light green to medium green, longitudinally veined, and hairless; they are rather short and expose the culms at intervals. The lower nodes are swollen, glabrous, and pale green to pale red; the upper nodes are more dark and sunken in appearance. The ligules are inconspicuously hairy.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The 1/2 to 2-foot long stems are slender, wiry, round and smooth. Growth is erect in spring but sags more with age.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Weedy