National Ornamental Grass Trials 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Jane Rozum, Graduate Student , Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO
Mary Hockenberry Meyer, PhD , Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, Chaska, MN
James E. Klett , Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Many ornamental grasses require low water and fertilizer inputs and minimal maintenance, making them complementary plants in landscape settings. The National Ornamental Grass Trial, coordinated through the University of Minnesota, began in 2012. Collaborators are conducting trials on native cultivars of ornamental grasses evaluating landscape characteristics and sustainability features in varied growing conditions throughout the United States.  Seventeen regional sites in 11 states including Vermont, North Carolina, Florida (4 sites), Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, Texas (5 sites), Colorado, and Oregon are evaluating 22 cultivars of Panicum amarum, Panicum virgatum, and Schizachyrium scoparium. Four plants of each cultivar were established in Summer 2012 at all collaborator sites. Data collection will include plant size, overall growth habit rating, floral impact, foliage color, fall color, self-seeding, winter survivability, and pest problems. Trial plants will be evaluated for the next three years, 2013–15. Based on the information obtained, it will be determined which cultivars are best suited for each of the research sites as well which have superior landscape features.  This preliminary report will highlight some of the first year results at various locations across the United States. The trial collaborators will continue to post information on a national website ( adding pertinent and timely information  in order that  growers, retailers and consumers may make more informed decisions when choosing grasses for sustainable  landscape settings.