Fountain grass grows up to 5’ in large clumps of long, narrow leaves with foxtail-like plumes in the summer.
How does it spread?
Fountain grass seeds prodigiously, and the seeds remain viable in the soil for at least seven years.
Where would I find it?
Fountain grass has been observed invading coastal and desert ecosystems, including coastal bluff, coastal scrub, desert riparian and wash areas, grasslands, chaparral, and along roadsides and trails. It has been reported as a problem in ten California State Parks.
What problems does it cause?
Fountain grass has a higher growth rate and therefore a competitive advantage over native plants. It increases fuel load and therefore the frequency, intensity, and spread of fire. Fountain grass is well-adapted to fire and can increase in density following a burn. Intense fires result in severe damage to native plant communities that are not as fire-tolerant as fountain grass and may endanger rare communities. It is poor forage for browsing and grazing animals and can negatively affect ground nesting birds and other terrestrial wildlife when fires occur. Fountain grass can become dominant in grasslands within 2-3 years if no control measures are employed.