doggonegardener(Wyoming, Zone 4)May 7, 2006

I am trying to add some OG to my gardens and have had NO luck for two seasons now. I have purchased OG's sold at local nurseries as peren. but they don't come back after our cold, dry winters. I am in southeastern Wyoming and wonder if anyone could suggest specific varieties that I might try with more success. Thanks in advance.

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The answer depends in part on what effect you are trying to create in yor garden and how much space you have to achieve your goals. There certainly are some grasses that will tolerate that level of cold. If you're looking to go with a larger grass, Miscanthus sinensis 'Silberfeder' is rated at zone 4 as are a few other Miscanthus. Trying some cultivars of native prairie type grasses would likely get you good results as well. Schizachyrium scoparium, also called Little bluestem looks great in a rocky slope and takes extreme dry heat and cold. There are a few cultivars of this one 'The Blues' being a good one. Andropogon gerardii or Big bluestem is another native prairie option. Calamagrostis acutiflora or Feather reed grass is hardy to zone 4 and makes an attractive addition singly or in a line and Heliotrichon sempervirens is a good accent plant to dot about perhaps interspersed with the Little bluestem.

good luck -- others will surely suggest some nice alternatives.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 12:37PM
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Pez's suggestion to grow Prairie grasses makes sense; genera/species listed below and starred (*) are such grasses; they and the others listed here are generally considered to be hardy in zone 4.

Arrhenatherum bulbosum 'Variegatum'
Bouteloua (2 species)*
Briza media
Calamagrostis x a. 'Karl Foerster' (see below)
Deschampsia cespitosa
Helictotrichon sempervirens ("Blue Oat Grass")
Miscanthus purpurascens and M. sacchariflorus
Molinia, multiple species and cultivars
Panicum virgatum, many cultivars*
Schizachyrium scoparium* (aka Andropogon s.)
Spartina pectinata*
Spodiopogon sibiricus (species name says all)
Sporobolus heterolepsis, a charmer*

Note: As many sources denote C. 'Karl Foerster' as hardy to zone 5 as list it hardy to z4. Handsome enough, though, to give it a shot. [Google names from the list to find sources or info.]

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:12PM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)

My landscaper suggested feather reed Karl Foerster three years ago and I said ok even though I didn't have much of an interest in grasses. Who knew it would become one of my favorites in the garden! It has performed very well for me even in the wind and the cold (I'm in Casper, by the way) and looks great all the way through the winter. Now I'm enamored of the grasses and this year will be adding blue oat grass (helictotrichon sempervirens), prairie dropseed (sporobolis heterolepsis) and blue grama.

My grasses will all be planted in my xeriscapic garden - grasses seem to like the punishment. Not too much water, NO fertilizer, not very good soil. (Maybe you are killing your grasses with kindness.) If you haven't tried it, please give feather reed (calamagrostis) a try, I'm sure you'll love it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 11:59PM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Your very own ag. extension suggests exactly the grasses that have been listed above ...

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Wyoming

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 7:47PM
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