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  • Author or Editor: Ted Helms x
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Fifteen tall, warm-season, native and ornamental grasses were subjected to a 3-year, low-input, and cold hardiness trial conducted from 2010 to 2013 in zone 4a at Fargo and Mandan, ND. Grasses tested were big bluestem [species (Andropogon gerardii)], ‘Pawnee’ big bluestem (A. gerardii), silver banner grass (Miscanthus sacchariflorus), giant miscanthus (Miscanthus ×giganteus), hardy pampas grass, (Saccharum ravennae), and the following maidengrass (Miscanthus sinensis) cultivars: Silver Feather, Narrow Leaf, Blondo, Autumn Light, Condensatus, Grosse Fontaine, Morning Light, Gracillimus, Strictus, and Zebrinus. In addition to survival, the grasses were also rated for spring vigor and fall quality (0–10 scale for both evaluations), fall leaf length, and fall flower height. The grasses received no management during the trial other than irrigation during the first season and weed control. The grasses were exposed to subsurface soil temperatures (at 6-inch depth) that reached as low as −8.6 °C at the Fargo location and −6 °C at the Mandan location. The study revealed that all big bluestem (species), ‘Pawnee’ big bluestem, and silver banner grass survived at both locations; silver banner grass scored the highest spring vigor ratings; silver banner grass and ‘Pawnee’ big bluestem scored the highest fall quality ratings; silver banner grass produced the longest fall leaf length; and ‘Pawnee’ big bluestem, big bluestem (species), and silver banner grass produced the tallest fall flowers.

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