Grass Collection featured on 2017 Calendar

Hoffman Nursery featured the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on the cover in their 2017 calendar. John Hoffman and his progressive company in North Carolina has made a significant impact on landscape grasses in the U. S.


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Miscanthus Tree Decoration

Miscanthus flowers used as a tree garland decorate one of the ‘natural ornaments only’ trees at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.


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Smoke Signal little bluestem

We are currently growing 14 different cultivars of little bluestem at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. One of the new forms is called Smoke Signal, with blue and red foliage in the summer and dark red foliage in the fall. Smoke Signal is 34-42 inches in height, and 25 inches wide…a nice size!
Along with Blue Heaven® the 45-55 inch tall Minnesota selection….these two cultivars are both upright, have good fall color and are the best of the 14 at the Arboretum for 2016. Many of the other cultivars have lodged or fallen over, have little or poor foliage color, or show little vigor.


Smoke Signal little bluestem, October 2016


Blue Heaven® October 2016






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2014 Ornamental Grass Sales Up 27%

Ornamental grass sales in the U. S. were up 27% according to the 2014 Census of Agriculture to $158,061,021 from $124, 261, 118 in 2009. In Minnesota gains were more modest, but were still up 12% to $1,956,265 from $1,740, 455 in 2009 (National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2014). Top 10 states with grass sales were:

CALIFORNIA $ 33,435,765
FLORIDA 29,977,489
GEORGIA 6,343,403
HAWAII 6,437,217
MARYLAND 5,884,271
MICHIGAN 6,053,800
OREGON 5,049,548
TEXAS 6,222,950
WASHINGTON 3,380,508
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October Flowers on Giant Miscanthus


October 11, 2016 giant miscanthus is in full flower. Note the adult person on the left. No frost yet at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Oaks in left background show little fall color.

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Fall Color

img_6119Hercules, right, is very similar to Miscanthus purpurescens, both have great orange fall color. Miscanthus sinensis‘Gracillimus’ back left of Hercules has late red flowers, shown here on  October 12, 2016.

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Leaf rust prevalent on purple big bluestem

Purple or dark red selections of big bluestem seem to be more susceptible to leaf rust, which shows up as orange or rust colored blotches on the leaf blade and sheath, and turns brown with age. Red October, shown below has quite a lot of rust. This is not fatal and is somewhat hidden in the darker foliage of these cultivars. Leaf moisture contributes to rust, so keeping the foliage dry does help.


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