Tuffy Plants: Best Management Practices
- Improved selections of drought-tolerant perennials; primarily Australian native flax lily (Dianella sp.) and mat rush (Lomandra sp.). Lomandra are tutfing “grasses” whereas the Dianella contain some selections that are clumping/tufting and others that are rhizomatous perennials; slow spreading. In general most varieties are extremely drought and heat Tolerant, able to withstand temperatures in excess of 120º F and periods of little or no rainfall.
- All are evergreen in normal Zone 9 winters (temps to 20-25º F); several varieties are evergreen in normal Zone 8 winters (see “Zone 8 Evergreenes”).
- Most are between 1.5 to 3 ft. high x 1.5 to 3 ft. wide. Refer to plant detail pages for specifics.
- Grow well in full sun and moderately shaded positions. Lomandra prefer filtered sun to heavy shade; Dianella prefer full sun to light shade.
- Tolerate windy, salt laden positions.
- Best suited for free draining, lightly acidic soils. It is best to avoid depressed areas that hold water. ONE EXCEPTION: Lomandra Katie Belles thrives in areas that are periodically saturated (like the perimeter of water features).
- For quart or one gallon pots, most varieties should be planted on 24 to 30 inch centers.
- Three gallon plants should be specified on 30 to 36 inch centers.
- Do not bury the crown of the plant when planting.
- Water, as required, to keep the plant healthy for the first 8 to 16 weeks. Do not over water; saturated soils can lead to crown rot, particularly in areas with high humidity.
- If trimming is required, ONLY PRUNE IN SPRING!! These are not “true grasses” that go dormant in Zone 8 and 9 winters; they are still actively growing. If you prune these actively growing plants during late winter [as you may with other ornamental grasses] you may inadvertently kill the plant. If you choose to prune, use a sharp implement and cut 3 to 6 in. above the ground.
- Fertilize in spring and fall using a slow release fertilizer with a 3:1:3 blend ratio plus micronutrients (Iron). In general, Australian native plants benefit from low-Phosphorous fertilizers and organic sources of Nitrogen such as fish meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal, and etcetera as opposed to synthetic fertilizers.
- For pre-emergent weed control, use Ronstar or Rout at the labeled rate. If post emergent control is needed, Fusilade can be used to selectively remove grass weeds. At this time, the only known method for removing broadleaf weeds (post emergence) is a directed spray of glyphosate (Roundup). When spot spraying with glyphosate, ensure drift or overspray does not accidentally contact the plant. Do not spot spray on windy days.
Disease and Insect Control:
- Proper horticulture practice teaches us to “use the right plant for the application.” The correct applications for Tuffy plants is “xeric” landscapes. In areas that receive excessive rainfall (or irrigation) and have extended periods of high humidity, some varieties may be susceptible to fungal disease. Therefore we explicitly advise that these varieties not be used in humid climates; see “Humid & Tropical” for those varieties that are adapt to these conditions.
- To prevent crown and root rot, soil drench with a thiophynate-methyl/ mefonoxam/ phosphorous acid based product(s). Fungal leaf spots can be controlled with copper-based or chlorothalonyl fungicides. No significant insect problems.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL BEFORE APPLYING ANY PESTICIDE. It is always recommended that pesticides are trialed on smaller areas initially to test for phytotoxicity. VersaScapes assumes no liability written or implied.