Will rabbitbrush overshelm the front yard?

Asked February 24, 2016, 12:13 AM EST

Our front yard in Aurora has suffered during the draught during the last 10 yrs..cannot grow grass..want to xeriscape with rabbit brush and Russian sage. Will rabbitbrush take over the front yard as I want to keep a little patch of lawn. Can I buy the plant at local nursery? How far apart? how wide will it get and how tall does it grow? I see these beautiful plants as I drive along Parker Rd in Chery creek and they do not seem out of control

Arapahoe County Colorado sustainable gardening and landscaping

1 Response

A xeriscape garden can be a beautiful addition to your landscape. There are many native and non-native plants, trees and shrubs that are available. Many plants demand less water once established but it is important to remember that a xeriscape garden will need some supplemental watering to establish the transplants that you purchase and will need supplemental watering throughout the growing season even after being established if we do not receive any moisture through rainfall.

Here is a CSU fact sheet regarding xeriscape gardening in general:

http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/xeriscaping-creative-landscaping-7-228/

Rabbitbrush, Chrysothanus nauseosus, is a native shrub. It has an irregular globe-shape, multi-stemmed, woody base with the young plant being more compact and the older plant have a more open look. It has a yellow bloom in August and September and if left will have a nice winter
presence in the garden. You can prune it back to about 1 foot in height in spring. This plant usually grows 2 - 6 feet tall and 2 - 4 feet wide.

The downside to this plant is that it readily reseeds. You can prevent some of the reseeding by deadheading the plant after blooming. This will, however remove the winter interest of the the plant. So without control rabbitbrush could be a problem.

Here is additional information about rabbitbrush:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk//1741.html

Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is a native of Central Asia and is well suited to our Colorado climate and soils. The blue flowers attract bees and butterflies. There are a number of different varieties available in our area. The foliage has a sage-like aroma and is sticky to the touch, especially in winter. Cutting the plant back to the ground in the spring makes for a more compact plant and encourages heavier flower production. The plant usually grows 3 - 5 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall.

Here is additional information about Russian sage:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk//1050.html

You should be able to buy these plants at your local nursery or sometimes at a big box store.

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