Karl Forester in winter

diygardener(z6/NJ)September 16, 2005

I'm new to grasses, so excuse me if this is a dumb question! What happens to Karl Forester in the winter? Does it hang around or die back? Are you supposed to cut it back like a perennial or let it remain? If so, what happens in the spring? Do you cut it back or watch the old grass mix with the new green? There's an area of my yard where I need something vertical (to block the view of trash cans) and I was thinking of planting a narrow evergreen. Now I'm wondering if some sort of vertical grass would work. It would be far more interesting visually, but I don't know if it would be practical. Thanks.

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Karl is a cool season grower and will be active until or slightly after the first few frosts. In your zone the leaves will turn brown in the hard winter and the flower spikes will probably stand up to some of your winter storms. Around March you should shear it to about 6" and watch it grow again. Not year-round screening, but a nice grass.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 7:30PM
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sage_lover(z6 OH)

You really cannot hurt this grass no matter what you do. It is one of the earliest to start growing and to put up seedheads so it makes a nice screen. LOL gives good advice.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 9:08PM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

Karl is a cfool season grass, yes. What becomes an issue is that Karl can turn brown before the "growing "season ends.

Being an early season "bloomer" it can and will brown out once its "flowering" season has run its course. This may be early in the fall season or anywhere close.

Temps, day light, moisture are all part of this cycle. Plus a couple others that I won't go into.

I have had success planting any and all grasses most any time in the growing season. Good? Maybe?! Bad? It can be!!

As for turning brown, once Karl has "flowered" it will start to brown out. (At least in our zone of 4b-5a). Nature of the beast or the growing cycle.

What becomes the diatribe of conversation is it might work where you live yet the guy across the street may have no luck at all.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 1:54AM
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well_rooted(5, BC Canada)

Jake, I am so sorry to hear that Karl turns brown so early for you. Do you water them? I live where it is very hot and dry and they are growing in terribly poor soil. I water them may be every 2 or 3 weeks. I just went out to look at them and they are still green, with some leaves turning yellow. I have had them for quite a few years and they have never turned brown.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 5:37PM
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roadtrip(z6 OH)

The only "problem" I had with my Karl is that is droops badly when it rains. I planted it in late spring from 1 gallon containers and it's grown two or three times that size since then. Lovely color and adds so much to the garden it makes up for the droopy sad look on rainy days and it's quick to spring back when it drys out a bit.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 10:26AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

well rooted -

By brown I don't mean it totally turns brown but the green starts to fade sooner than I would like.

I understand about cool and warm season grasses and their growth habits as well as the micro climate effects on plants.

We have Karl in two different locations and in one spot Karl gets shaded by a Bur Oak in the late afternoon (6 Â 6:30 PM mid summer the shade starts to cover Karl) and this Karl is most certainly stunted in stature.

Wouldn't think late afternoon sun depravity would alter the growth that much.

As for water, our whole yard gets watered regularly twice a week so that is not the problem.

I have gone the gambit of planting OG from crappy native clay w/ no amendments to a few parts of small rock / gravel to open up the clay for drainage to a compost mix varying from 1 compost to 5-6 clay to 50 Â 50 to see what the effects would be.

In most cases the best grass results were native clay with some gravel and a pinch of amendments. Less watering once established.

Now I need to take 3 weeks off work in the sprig to trim back and split the 90 or so grasses we have growing. The perennial whacko can do whatever she needs to do to get her 50x20 main perennial bed cleaned up.

Life in the grass lane.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 11:27AM
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