Spring 2014, How did grasses survive the long winter?

Snow has finally left central Minnesota and we can begin to see how the grasses survived the long winter. The semi-evergreen sedges appear to have little damage. ‘Silver Sceptre’ and ‘Bunny Blue’, shown here look good, ‘Evergold’ however looks dead in the foreground (only 1 plant from last year). Other sedges that look good are ‘Ice Dance’ and ‘Ice Ballet’. Carex ‘Banana Boat’ was totally deciduous, but has green tips. Image

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Panicum ‘Hot Rod’

Shenandoah, left and HotRod right‘Hot Rod’ is a new dark red switchgrass from Emerald Coast growers in Florida. We have included the new cultivar in the National Grass Trials and are anxious to see how it will perform over the many states included in the trials. It is red, that is for sure. So far in Minnesota, the plants have been smaller than other switchgrasses, and a bit slow to grow, but very red-purple. Research has shown switchgrass with a lot of red color often has less chlorophyll, and thus less vigor. Winter survival was good the first winter, 2012-13 in Minnesota. Further details are on the grasstrials.com website, where all states report their results.  ‘Hot Rod’ is on the right in this photo, ‘Shenandoah’ swtichgrass is on the left.

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‘Northwind’ photos

IMG_8645 Northwind flowers

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Does Fall Grass Cutback affect Survival?

fall cut back calamagrosits wayzataNew this year is a fall cut back on grasses, see here with ‘Karl Forester’ feather reedgrass at a local bank. Not sure how this will affect survival, as early cut back can result in more injury to plants. Perhaps a very neat and tidy look is what is being striven for? Other comments or ideas?

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-22F on Jan 6, 2014

stadium photo feb 17 2013USDA Zone 4 verified this winter. Most of the grass crowns are well protected as seen here with ‘Blue Heaven’ outside of the U of M Stadium. Let’s hope all the harmful insects are set back with this weather.

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Fall Cutback?

I do not recommend cutting grasses back in the fall….as seen here between the benches….wonder how these will survive the winter? Cutting in the fall can increase winter injury. IMG_4131

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Standing Ovation little bluestem

Standing Ovation at Nat Arboretum DCStanding Ovation oct 25 2013A new selection of little bluestem with purple and lavender foliage. Left at National Arboretum in DC; right in Minnesota.

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