Evaluation of ornamental grasses for the Northern Great Plains.
A total of 160 grass or grass-like species/cultivars were evaluated under field conditions in Manitoba, Canada, for a period of 4 years. Detailed assessments of survival, growth and development are presented. Horticultural evaluations were completed on all material, providing a basis for making recommendations for utilization of grasses in the landscape in colder regions (USDA zone 3) of the Great Plains. Thirty accessions were identified with very good to outstanding visual appeal. Plants that were rated very high for horticultural value included: big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), feathertop (Calamagrostis epigejos), many of the sedges (Carex sp.), plumegrass (Erianthus ravennae [Saccharum sp.]), Hervier's fescue (Festuca hervieri), Leman's fescue (Festuca lemanii), tall purple moorgrass (Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea cv. Skyracer), switchgrass species and cultivars (Panicum virgatum cultivars Haense Herms, Heavy Metal and Strictum), ravenna grass (Saccharum ravennae) and variegated cordgrass (Spartina pectinata cv. Aureo-marginata). Eighteen accessions were removed from the test mainly due to their invasive nature (e.g., Bromus inermis cv. Skinner's Golden, Elymus spp., Glyceria maxima and Phragmites australis). Of the remaining 142 accessions, 71.8% had at least one plant remaining at the end of the test period (1996).