What would you recommend for a non-invasive perennial grass that could be used as a natural privacy fence?


I’m looking for a non-invasive perennial grass that grows to 6 ft (or more) in an area with morning sun and partial sun/shade in the afternoon. It is to serve as a natural privacy fence. Recommendations appreciated.


Jonathan Foster, Community Education Assistant

Your sun conditions sound reasonable for planting ornamental grass in the spot, though the soil conditions and moisture will play a part in determining your choice, as well. We also recommend considering shrubs if you are seeking year-round privacy, as they will more reliably hold up through the winter.

For grasses, per UMaine horticulturist Pamela Hargest, you might use Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), cultivars of Panicum virgatum (Switch grass), and cultivars of Miscanthus sinensus (Chinese silver grass). The first two are natives to our area and can hold shape into the winter, depending on snow cover. For further information on ornamental perennial grasses, please see the UNH Cooperative Extension site linked in the reply above.

If you are open to considering shrubs, I highly recommend the Buffer Handbook Plant List book, from the Maine DEP–plenty of species native to our area, selected for hardiness and tolerance of various site conditions, and general information on planting “buffers” (including privacy).