Question about Miscanthus gracillimus cutting back in spring

kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)March 11, 2010

I have done a lot of reading into when to cut back my gracillimus, which is late winter/early spring. Everything I've read says NOT to cut back to the ground, but to about 10 to 12 inches, so that's what I did today. What I'm just wondering is why you can't cut back to the ground? Is it to protect the crown? Just curious I guess. Will it effect the blooms in fall?

Oh, btw, this will be it's 3rd year in my garden. It didn't bloom last fall, and I had cut to the ground before I knew better, and was wondering if the cutting back had anything to do with it. It did bloom the first year in ground, but not last year.

Thanks all :)

Cathy

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gardengal48

Since spring starts officially next week, I'd say your timing is excellent :-) When I was in hort school, the instructor for the class on OG's drilled into us that cutting back of pretty much any OG can/should be done "late February/early March".

I've cut back my miscanthus (and most other deciduous grasses) as low as I could easily - usually around 4-6 inches. Leaving it higher is optional. It does nothing to benefit the plant nor does cutting it lower detract from the plant. And it will not affect blooming - that is a factor of daylength and heat. Often, warm season grasses in cooler climates do not receive sufficient heat to develop flowerheads/plumes before frost cuts them back - this is very common with late blooming selections like Miscanthus 'Gracillimus'. Even in my zone 8 climate this is not a reliable bloomer because we have very mild summers. There are other selection of miscanthus that bloom earlier - you might want to seek them out.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:34AM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Thanks gardengal! Now, I'm beginning to understand why it didn't bloom last year. I think I will look into other earlier bloomers.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 4:48PM
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donn_(7b-8a)

I grew quite a few varieties of Miscanthus in your zone (Chagrin Falls area) and none of them bloomed reliably. I was in the heart of the snow belt, east of CF, and I had better luck with them if I cut them back in the late fall, and mulched the crowns with coarse woodchips followed by pine boughs.

I'm in what appears to be a perfect climate for Miscanthus now. I started cutting them back last week, and every one bloomed beautifully, beginning in mid-summer. This winter was a lovely zone 8 season, with lots of moisture, and nothing colder than 14°F. I expect a bumper year for the grasses. My gracillimus re-seeds reliably, so I have a steady crop of new babies every year. I got a couple last year with unusually fine foliage, and I have high hopes for them this year.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 7:06PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

I cut mine back 4-6 inches, sometimes shorter, and it has bloomed every year thus far for me. The one in more shade blooms less than the one in more sun, but both clumps do bloom.

Karen

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 6:09PM
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