Sunday, April 5, 2015

Which Ornamental Grasses Wake Up in April?

I guess I didn't realize it, but I've collected a pretty good variety of ornamental grasses in under 1 year at my house. I have Hardy Pampas Grass, Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass, Northwind Switchgrass, and Blue Fescue. Two of these so far are showing signs of life and two are not at this point in April.

I was starting to get worried because I got most of these in the fall. Then I read this article and it jogged my memory about cool season and warm season grasses - that explains it! Cool season grasses emerge early in spring, grow rapidly, and fruit sooner. Warm season grasses, not surprisingly, emerge later and keep growing and fruiting into the fall.

The article even says "Don’t be alarmed and think they’ve died off during the winter. Many warm season ornamental grasses don’t get going until after the spring bulbs have faded." Whew! Because my warm season grasses aren't even thinking about waking up at this point!

My cool season grasses are Karl Foerster and Blue Fescue, and my warm season grasses are Hardy Pampas Grass and Northwind Switchgrass.

April Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster' Calamagrostis acutiflora
Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster' Calamagrostis acutiflora - April 4, 2015

blue fescue waking up
Blue Fescue - Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' April 5, 2015 - I transplanted this from my shaded side yard and divided it. It's barely hanging on. It lasted all winter with really no chance to root in, so hopefully it grows quickly.

I love the look of Blue Fescue, it's so tempting to just go to Lowe's and buy another one that's already-amazing looking and fully-grown. I'm left with these brown stubs, and some seedlings that I'm waiting until no chance of frost to put outside. All this time waiting just to save $7...

blue fescue at lowesblue fescue seedlings

Moving on to the warm season grasses, there's not really much to talk about - they're just dried husks at this point. I really would think they were dead if I hadn't read that article.

hardy pampas grass in april
 Hardy Pampas Grass - Erianthus ravennae, April 5, 2015

northwind switchgrass in april
 Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' Switch Grass - April 5, 2015

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