Gulf Muhly – Muhlenbergia capillaris

Grass, Gulf Muhly cloud

Muhlenbergia capillaris, most commonly known as Gulf Muhly, Pink Muhly, or Hair Grass, is a hardy ornamental grass native to Texas and most of the United States; however, it grows most successfully in zones 8-11.  Gulf Muhly grows only to 3 foot tall and wide, and it has a wide range of uses in the landscape. It is often used as a color accent, border, or featured in a large mass which turns into a pink cloud in fall.
This plant is often used commercially and especially in large masses because of its drought-tolerance and attractive pink blooms during the fall. It attracts butterflies, birds, and insects, is deer resistant, drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and can be planted in areas with poor soil which makes it a very attractive choice for a homeowner.  The best time to plant Gulf Muhly is in the early spring and in full sun.



Tree Staking

Tracey from Rosenberg (Southwest of the Houston area) asks how long should she keep newly planted trees staked before they should be removed. The rule of thumb is that tree staking should be removed at one year from the time of planting. Typically tree or landscape installation companies will end their tree warranties at one year for the same reason that tree stakes are removed at one year. If the tree is not established at the one year mark, then it is probably dead or never plans to establish (will die soon). After one year of growth, the tree trunk begins to outgrow the tree staking wires or cloth ties and will soon look like the first image of the set of six. The trunk grows around the obstacle, and you will have a hard time removing the obstacle ever again without damaging the tree.

Tree Staking Options

You can use any combination of metal, wire, rubber, cloth, or wood to stake a tree, and you probably won’t be wrong as long as you have kept slack in both the loops around the trunk and the material connecting to the stakes in the ground. Many types and combinations of staking are shown in the images provided, but my preference is to use cloth staking around the trees and connect to metal or wood stakes in the ground where the top of the stake is actually at ground level and not sticking up.

The following are my pros and cons for each material that can be selected.

Wire – Pro: durability, Con:  not easily seen, can greatly harm a person if it is run into (at head/neck level or as a trip hazard)

Rubber – Pro:  typically used to wrap wire and protect tree trunk

Cloth – Pro:  a safer option than wire with good durability, protects tree trunk

Wood – Pro:  stakes the root ball only while eliminating material to be wrapped around trunk, Con:  can be a minor trip hazard if not installed properly

Metal – Pro:  durability, Con:  can cause harm if run into

Tree Staking Methods Good and Bad