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Old 06-05-2012, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Switch grass rotstrahlbusch

Has anyone tried this switchgrass? It's also call 'Haense Herms'. It's one of the switchgrasses that turn red in the fall. I've been reluctant to plant switch grass because of it's tendancy to run but I read that it's more of a bunchgrass in the southeast, also this one may not be as aggresive as the species. I bought one huge one in a 3 gallon pot to try. I have a place for it where it won't overrun things.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:39 PM   #2
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I've had two switchgrasses in the same place for two and a half years now (not the same cultivar--mine are one of the blueish varieties), and neither has even attempted to run, though they're tall and robust-looking. They're in full sun and lean soil and rarely get watered.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:34 AM   #3
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That's good to know, perhaps the cultivars are better behaved than the straight species.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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I have three of these. They are well behaved and do not spread by runners. The clump will get larger each year. Mine are blooming and have been for over a month. The 'Rotstahlbusch' is not nearly as tall as some. Its good for a smaller space. Of the three types I have, the most knocked out gorgeous is 'Northwind'. It is described as looking "spray-starched" and that description is 100% accurate. Extreme vertical statement with no flopping and its a nice olive green color. The other type I have is 'Heavy Metal'

Santa Rosa Gardens has them on sale in 4" pots for $2.99 now. Thats is where I bought most of my native grasses. I am thinking seriously about ordering more from them, enough for a row of the 'Northwind'. They grow pretty fast in a single season so it doesn't take but a couple months to grow to a gallon sized plant. I have found smaller sized plants establish much better and quicker than the big ones I buy locally which are more often than not, root bound and have trouble establishing and sometimes die. I had read that advice in more than one place and its true from my experience.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:23 AM   #5
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I have mostly "Heavy Metal" switch grass but one of the grasses is tinged heavily with red in the Fall and is another cultivar.
I haven't had much running either just enlarging clumps.
Eventually though the center is lost on older clumps and I've had to dig out and divide the clump or try planting in the center.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:39 AM   #6
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Thanks savannah and will-o. I have heard good things about 'Northwind', I'll have to try to find it around here. I'll plant rotstrahlbusch somewhere in the middle of the border knowing it's not as tall as some.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will-o-wisp View Post
I have mostly "Heavy Metal" switch grass but one of the grasses is tinged heavily with red in the Fall and is another cultivar.
I haven't had much running either just enlarging clumps.
Eventually though the center is lost on older clumps and I've had to dig out and divide the clump or try planting in the center.
That might be 'Shenandoah'. There are some even newer ones out, I think, that also turn red. My 'Rotsthralbusch' didn't really turn red last fall, I'd planted it the fall before from a 4"" plug. It was about a two gallon sized grass by the end of the first season, but no red. We had such a hot dry summer and warm winter I haven't given up hope because, not only did it not turn red, it stayed green all winter except for a 1/3 browning on the tips. Some grasses didn't bloom at all.

There was a large, tall clump of some type I saw a couple years ago that turns red. It was planted as an isolated specimen and backlit by the sun late in the day. I nearly swerved the car off the street craning my head when I saw it and had to circle back and stop to take a good look. Its was unbelievable! I have no idea of which one it was, but it made me wish I had a spot for one like it. Very distinctively red.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
That's good to know, perhaps the cultivars are better behaved than the straight species.
There is a very old clump of the straight species close by me. I would estimate its 14 feet wide in one direction and maybe 6 in another. Its taller than me, and that was in a dry year, except this one is growing in a low spot so it probably gets more water. It looks great where it is, but really, unless you have the space, it would outgrow you. I have read of people having to get rid of it or try to divide it and I decided I wouldn't even try to plant one.

Not that its not pretty. I like driving by an looking at this one.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:38 PM   #9
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I think one of the species has seeded into my prairie bed. If it is that aggressive I'll have to remove it. Does it bloom the same time as all the other warm season grasses?
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
I think one of the species has seeded into my prairie bed. If it is that aggressive I'll have to remove it. Does it bloom the same time as all the other warm season grasses?

I wouldn't call it aggressive really, just a big grass, robust. I tried planting seeds from the one I am describing and not a single one germinated. Its not aggressive that way or underground either. I like this grass a lot and if I had a prairie area of enough size, I'd definitely want it. Its not for a perennial bed or anything like that though and thats where I read it can out grow its space in circumference. It makes a statement and if you have a poorly draining area that stays too wet, this grass will be a happy camper there. Its one of the few that will tolerate poor draining clay or periods of standing water. It will also grow dry. Full sun though, or it will flop big time. All the cultivars are like that too.
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