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C.B. McKenney and Helen Tyler

Chili pepper yield may be hampered by wind-blown sand and high evaporative demand common in semiarid regions. Initial establishment of the crop is of great importance to overall yield. Due to their reduced size, ornamental grasses could serve as windscreens in urban gardens. In this project, seven species of ornamental grasses (Cortaderia selloana `Pumila', Erianthus ravennae, Miscanthus sinensis `Autumn Light', Miscanthus sinensis `Gracillimus', Miscanthus sinensis `Silberfeder', Miscanthus sinensis `Variegatus', Miscanthus sinensis `Zebrinus', and Pennisetum setaceum `Rubrum') were used as aesthetic windscreens. Capsicum annuum `NuMex Big Jim' chili pepper yield was significantly affected by species of grass in the windscreen. The number of peppers per plant was also significantly affected by species; however, the weight of each pepper was not significantly impacted. Effect of species of ornamental grass in the windscreen may be due to differences in wind resistance, moisture competition, or shading between species. The durability, increase in yield, and aesthetic nature of the ornamental grasses used as windscreens provides several reasons to take advantage of these perennial grasses for an aesthetic form of garden protection.

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Courtney L. Tchida and Mary H. Meyer

Miscanthus is one of the most popular ornamental grasses. Reports of self-seeding however, have occurred in the Central Atlantic states, making it a possible weed threat. Ascertaining whether Miscanthus self-seeds or not may determine its continued use as an ornamental, decorative plant. With more than 50 named cultivars of Miscanthus sinensis and several other Miscanthus species available in the trade, wide morphological variation appears to exist within this genus. Because Miscanthus is a warm-season grass requiring a relatively long growing season, self-seeding may vary depending on the USDA Hardiness Zone in which the plant is grown. Mature inflorescences from 35 different cultivars or species of Miscanthus were collected or acquired from nurseries or arboreta in USDA Zones 4, 5, 6, and 7 in the fall or early winter of 1996. Inflorescences were examined for seed set by hand cleaning. The percentage of viability seed and seed germination was determined by germination in laboratory conditions. Results varied by cultivar or species and as well as by source. A comparison of results will presented and the implications of Miscanthus self-seeding or becoming a potential weed threat will be discussed.

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer*

Miscanthus sinensis was investigated where it has naturalized and invaded native plant communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Washington, D.C. area, western North Carolina, and Iowa. Plants were identified; inflorescences were collected; seed was cleaned and tested for viability; and soil was collected for seed bank analysis. Many individuals were interviewed at each location. Locations were mapped to show miscanthus. The species or “wild type” Miscanthus sinensis that has naturalized at the above locations is rarely sold in the nursery trade. The numerous, popular, ornamental cultivars derived from this species are vegetatively propagated clones that are common in the nursery trade. Miscanthus is self-incompatible and sets seed only when two or more genotypes are grown together. Individual isolated plants set little seed. Plants of the wild type which have naturalized each represent a unique individual or genotype and thus set heavy seed, quite different from ornamental cultivars. Further complicating this is the high variability of seed set due to environmental conditions. Management guidelines were developed along with recommendations which include: Do not plant the species Miscanthus sinensis. Cultivars of the species, especially when two are more are grown together, represent a high risk for self-seeding in the Mid Atlantic states. Cultivars should only be planted in areas where they can be watched and managed for self-seeding. No miscanthus should be planted where it can seed into native areas, such as highways, fields, meadows, or wooded areas. A comprehensive website with identification, pictures, management guidelines, and recommendations was developed: http://horticulture.coafes.umn.edu/miscanthus.

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Alan Zuk, Qi Zhang, Ted Helms, and Harlene Hatterman-Valenti

discussion Plant survival. By the conclusion of the field trial at the Fargo location in Oct. 2013, all replicates of silver banner grass, ‘Silver Feather’ maidengrass, and giant miscanthus were still alive. Two of the big bluestem (species) and ‘Pawnee’ big

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Bruce A. Cunliffe

It is common practice to propagate grasses by division in the spring rather than the fall. This is particularly true of warm-season grasses. Production schedules for grasses do not often fit the general production pattern of other herbaceous perennial or woody crops. Five ornamental grass species were studied: Schizachyrium scoparium, Sporobolus heterolepsis, Calamagrostis × acutiflora `Karl Foerster', Miscanthus sinensis `Purpurascens', and Miscanthus sinensis `Variegatus'. Uniform divisions based on species were planted in 4-inch (480-ml) pots, #1 (2780-ml), and #2 (6240-ml) containers. Fall divisions were done between 28 Oct. and 10 Nov. 1997. Spring divisions occurred between 30 Apr. and 7 May 1998. The experiment is a randomized complete-block design blocking on pot size. All containers were over-wintered under the same cover of plastic, straw, and plastic. Plants were evaluated for post-winter survival and growth. Plants were given a visual rating (0-3) every 2 weeks to assess salability. Spring survival of fall divisions was 99% for S. scoparium, C. × acutiflora `Karl Foerster', and M. sinensis `Purpurascens'. M. sinensis `Variegatus', and S. heterolepsis each had ≈50% survival. Fall divisions reached a salable rating a minimum of 2 weeks ahead of spring divisions. These results indicate that some ornamental grass species may benefit from fall rather than spring handling.

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Sonali R. Padhye and Judith K. Groninger

ornamental grasses. For this study, we used three commercially important ornamental grasses, each within Cyperaceae (leatherleaf sedge, ‘Frosted Curls’ sedge, and ‘Toffee Twist’ sedge) and Poaceae (‘Rosea’ pampas grass, ‘Gracillimus’ miscanthus, and muhly

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Mark H. Brand

Potting of bare-root spring divisions is a simplified approach to ornamental grass production. Large and small divisions of eight common ornamental grasses were directly potted into 7-L nursery containers and grown outdoors for 20 weeks to determine an appropriate division size for each grass. Response to division size was dependent on the grass species. Large divisions of Calamagrostis ×cutiflora `Karl Foerster' (Schräd.) produced twice as many inflorescences as small divisions. At harvest, large divisions of Miscanthus oligostachyus `Purpurascens' (Stapf.) had twice as many inflorescences and 1.5 times as many tillers as small divisions. However, new tiller production in large divisions was only 50% of that in small division plants. Large divisions of Miscanthus sinensis (Anderss.) cultivars produced more tillers and greater fresh and dry weights than did small divisions, but again, the differences were not proportional to the size difference between the initial divisions. Large divisions of Panicum virgatum (L.) produced 50 more tillers per plant than did small divisions, but plant weight, size, and number of inflorescences were not affected by division size. Plants from large divisions of Pennisetum alopecuroides (L.) Spreng. were 7 cm shorter than small divisions and produced 24% more inflorescences and 27% more tillers, but appeared nutrient and/or water stressed. For most grasses, smaller division size is recommended for direct spring potting.

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Mary Hockenberry Meyer and Bruce A. Cunliffe

Five ornamental grasses {little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash], prairie dropseed [Sporobolus heterolepis (A. Gray) A. Gray], feather reedgrass [Calamagrostis ×acutiflora(Schrad.) DC. `Karl Foerster'], flamegrass (Miscanthus Anderss. `Purpurascens'), and variegated Japanese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensisAnderss. `Variegatus')} were propagated by transplanting plugs or field divisions into 480-mL (10-cm round), 2.7-L (no. 1), and 6.2-L (no. 2) nursery containers with media ratios (v/v) of 0:1, 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 1:0 rice hulls to sand, resulting in aeration porosities in 2.7-L containers of 5%, 12%, 22%, 28%, and 41%, respectively. Planting dates were between 28 Oct and 10 Nov. 1997; 30 Apr. and 7 May 1998; and 23-28 Oct. 1998 and 1-10 May 1999. Plants were covered with plastic and straw from the second week in November until the second week in April. Winter survival was evaluated 6 weeks after uncovering and for finished dates every 2 weeks thereafter. Species had a significant effect on overwintering survival, but container size and media did not. Sporobolus heterolepis and M. sinensis `Variegatus' had significantly lower overwintering survival than the other species. Container size significantly influenced growth; the 6.2-L containers had the highest values for all growth parameters. Growth response to media was a weak (nonsignificant) quadratic response, indicating for these species no clear trend for the best media aeration porosity.

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Mark H. Brand

Nursery production of many ornamental grasses involves potting of established liners into 8.5-L containers. Direct potting of bare root divisions into 8.5-L containers may represent a more efficient production method. Large and small divisions (based on number of tillers and volume) of eight ornamental grasses were potted directly into 8.5-L containers. The potting medium used was a 3 aged pine bark: 2 peat moss: 1 sand nursery mix (by volume), amended with dolomitic lime at 3 kg/yard3, and top dressed with Sierra 17-6-10 plus minors at 40 g/container, 8 to 9 month fertilizer. Plants were grown outdoors in a container nursery from May through September. All grasses tested performed well using the direct potting method, with 100% survival. Large divisions of Miscanthus sinensis cultivars produced plants with greater fresh weight, dry weight and number of tillers than did small divisions. Division size did not affect Miscanthus foliage or flower height but did affect number of flowers for `Graziella' and `Purpurascens'. Large divisions of Calamagrostis `Karl Foerster', a grass grown primarily for flowering, produced twice as many flowers as small divisions. Panicum virgatum and Pennisetum alopecuriodes showed signs of nutrient stress when grown from large divisions. Although a greater number of tillers was produced by large divisions of Panicum and Pennisetum, fresh weight, dry weight, flower height, and foliage height were similar to or less than that observed on plants from small divisions.

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S.M. Scheiber, David Sandrock, Erin Alvarez, and Meghan M. Brennan

Salt-tolerant landscape plants are important to ornamental growers, landscapers, and residents in coastal communities. Ornamental grasses are frequently recommended for low-maintenance landscape situations and may be candidates for coastal plantings after they are evaluated for their salt spray tolerance. ‘Gracillimus’ maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) and ‘Hamelin’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) were subjected to four treatments [100% seawater salt spray, 50% seawater salt spray, 25% seawater salt spray, or 0% seawater salt spray (100% deionized water)] applied as a foliar spray. As seawater concentration increased, root, shoot, whole-plant biomass gain, height, inflorescence number, and visual quality decreased for both cultivars; however, fountain grass appears to be slightly more tolerant of salt spray than maiden grass.