Planting Ornamental Grasses

maw3September 20, 2006

I have just become a member of this Forum and I would appreciate it if someone could give some information on ornamental grasses. I live in Zone 6. Is it too late in the year to plant these grasses? I have an area where I would like to have different sizes and color arrangements. Such as the tallest in the back and graduate down in size to about 10 inches in front. The space is approx. 12' wide and 10' deep. Does anyone have any suggestions that could give me the heights and different colors. Thanks Maw3

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Not too late to plant grasses in zone 6. I think fall is the best time to establish grasses.

How about a few Miscanthus as a backdrop or corner specimen grasses. Maybe Calamagrostis Karl Foerster as a mid-height sweep, planted a bit closer so they grow as a sweep. Pennisetums, maybe dwarf varieties like Hameln or Little Bunny. Try a row of Fescue or Carex sedges to border. Just some ideas.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 9:35PM
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My thanks to grass guy. Thank you so much for your suggestions and info. I will be looking for these plants for my yard. Again, thanks. Maw3

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 11:35PM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Not an argument gg, just zone differences.
Yes, it is still ok to plant grasses in zone 6 BUT, it is getting close to the line for the warm season grasses ~ especially if the grasses are root-bound bargins.
In zone 5 spring is the 'best' time to plant grasses rather than fall.
I envy you, your long autumns in zone 8!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 8:29AM
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lol...year round gardening doesn't provide any breaks. You're right, it is borderline and spring is certainly the better choice for zone 5 growers at this time.

BTW, my wife and I visited Niagara CA this summer and I was amazeed at the number of grasses in use commercially and in the local gardens. The Niagara Parks Botanical Garden was very nice.

Here is a pic of Strictus at the garden this summer...

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 9:28AM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Grass Guy,
Grasses have really 'taken off' in Ontario! Excuse the pun ~
When I started out giving slide presentations at local hort. societies 12+ years ago people looked at grasses as something quite foriegn. Now, I see them in lots and lots of landscapes. They even turn up in retirement communities :o) Unfortunately landscapers are still uninformed and are doing things like,planting too close and planting Pennisetum rubrum as a hardy perennial .... not!

How could people help but like them ~ they are such a delightful addition to the landscape!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:20AM
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i guess they find out quickly enough that their rubrum isn't coming

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:43AM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

re: rubrum
Surprisingly enough I have actually heard of a couple of landscapers that have replaced the dead plants the next year with ......... the same thing!! Crazy eh?


    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 10:33AM
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re: rubrum

Not crazy if they grow it as an annual, but if they continue to pursue as a hardy perennial, they are in

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 2:57PM
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me again...

interesting comment on landscapers planting too close. I bet that's in the top 3 of design errors with OG's.

Landscapers rarely take the mature size seriously when looking at a 1 gallon or even a quart size grass.

In my area it's Cortaderia (pampas) that gets landscapers in trouble. They use them at driveway corners or alongside a home, planted from a 1 gallon. Several years later the homeowner is desperately trying to trim back a 12 ft monster arching into the driveway. ;) No fun to dig these guys up!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 3:24PM
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Someone gave me some kind of grass, that had the feathery things on top, and I just planted the just a month ago. Do you think they will grow ? I live in Cleveland, Tn. I love the ornamental grasses, they are very pretty ....

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 5:58PM
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Hi Carolyn,

If you can post a photo, we can probably get an id and hardiness zone on the grass you have in your garden. As a zone 7, most grasses will be hardy as long as they are perennial (and not a tender perennial).

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Is it to late to plant Pennisetum? My lanndscaping Co is coming next week to replace my Yaku Jima, with Pennisetum Hamlin.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:48AM
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