Monday, August 9, 2010

Feather Reed Grass


Calamagrostis x acutiflora ( Feather Reed Grass )
A group of showy cool season grass hybrids which in mild climates may be either evergreen or deciduous depending upon severity of the winter. They are grown for their showy plumes however often also carry attractive foliage.
Feather Reed Grass prefers well drained soil but is tolerant of anything from sandy soil to wet clay as well as drought, flood, heat, salt, wind & deer. Hardy zones 3 to 7 ( mulch during winter in zones 3 and 4 ). It thrives in full sun to partial shade but needs a somewhat breezy location to discourage mildew fungus that occasionally may occur. Clumps should be cut back to 6 inches during late winter to allow room for new growth...cutting back earlier may cause damage by exposing the crown to severe winter temperature extremes. Propagation is from division preferrably during mid-autumn or early spring. If divisions are small ( 6 or less growing points ) they may take more than a year to produce plumes.

Similar to 'Overdam' but with leaf blades white in the center with narrow green margins. It is also taller with foliage clumps reaching up to 5 feet x 51 inches.
The foliage emerges very early in spring.
Silvery tan plumes contrast the foliage. An exceptionally attractive plant that is hardy from zone 2 to 7.

* photos taken on July 11 2014 in Washington, DC

'El Dorado'
Reaches up to 5 feet, with foliage that is variegated with a golden-yellow ( later turning creamy-white ) stripe down the middle.

* photo taken on Aug 7 2014 in Elkridge, MD

'Karl Foerster' ( Foerster Reed Grass )
Clumps of early emerging green foliage up to 26 inches in height constrasts well with stiff, upright, fluffy white flower spikes in early summer that later ripen into tan color seed heads that remain attractive well into winter. Total size of plant including plumes is up to 6 or very rarely 8.5 feet in height and 4 feet in width. This hybrid does not produce viable seed therefore is not invasive. The Foerster Reed Grass is spectacular whether single or massed when used creatively.
Hardy zones 3 to 7

* photo taken on August 2 2010 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo taken on August 3 2010 in Stratford, ON

* photos taken on August 6 2010 in Windsor, Ontario

* photos taken on Aug 3 2012 in London, ON

* photo taken on June 27 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Sep 13 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photo taken on July 25 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 13 2017 in Columbia, MD

'Lightning Strike'

* photo taken on June 25 2014 in Elkridge, MD

Similar to 'karl Foerster' but with extremely attractive foliage up to 3.3 feet in height. New foliage has bright golden yellow margins that quickly fade to white sometimes flushed pink that constrasts well with the rigidly erect golden plumes. Fast growing and reaches up to 6 x 4 feet including the Plumes.

* photo taken on June 22 2014 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

Rich green foliage clumps to 4 x 3.5 feet with are topped with strongly vertical yellowish plumes up to 7 feet in height that appear in June and turn to golden-brown by summers end. The foliage is narrow and fine-textured.

Calamagrostis brachytricha ( Korean Feather Grass )
Also called Achnatherum brachytricha. Clumps of rich green grassy foliage up to 42 x 52 inches in size are later complimented by puffy, rosy-purple upright plumes ( 10 inch plume length ) up to 5 feet in height that turn cinnamon color while persisting through the winter months.
Native to central and eastern Asia. Prefers moist, well drained soil in sun or partial shade. Hardy zones 4 to 9 and is very heat and drought tolerant.

* photo taken on March 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

Calamagrostis canadensis ( Bluejoint Grass )
A fast spreading, rhizomatous, perennial grass, reaching up to 5 feet, that is a widespread native of northern North America ( from far northern Alaska to far northwest Northwest Territories to southern Nunavut to Winisk, Ontario to northern Quebec to Labrador; south to central California to central New Mexico to central Kansas to central Ohio to Maryland ). Bluejoint Grass is found on river plains, stream edges and edges of marshes in the wild. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region during the 1800s; it was noted to be very abundant in the marsh at Point Pelee, the Lake Erie Islands and the Ohio shore. It was also abundant at Detroit, Michigan during that time. It is great for stabilizing river banks.
The leaf blades, up to 12 x 0.3 inches in size, are bright green to blue-green.
The flower plumes appear during early summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 ( 1 for northeast Alberta seed source ) in full sun to partial shade on moist to wet soil.

* photos taken on Jul 17 2016 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo taken on July 18 2016 in Grand Bend, Ontario

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