Fountain Grass
Q.

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ Dying in Winter

Zone 5 | Caroline123 added on June 7, 2016 | Answered

Is anyone else in Zone 7 having issues with Hameln surviving the winter? It is not specific to Hameln, as it was a rough winter for grasses but, for example, we had 100+ Hameln die on one property this winter. Any advice on how to help them survive the winter??

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Downtoearthdigs
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 9, 2016

That is a large number of plants to lose. The conditions must have been beyond their hardiness.

Here are some articles to refresh you on the care requirements.

You can check with your local County Extension Office and inquire if they have had any other reports of die off in your area. They will have information on weather and temperature trends.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/extension-search/

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp461
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/fountain-grass/tips-for-care-of-fountain-grass.htm

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heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 9, 2016

Without knowing exactly where you are in zone 7, I am going to guess that you had a rather up and down winter like many parts of the country in terms of weather and temperature. If this is the case, this is likely what killed the Hameln grass.

Contrary to popular belief, many plants in the winter are not killed by cold. Rather, they are killed by temperature fluctuations. An unusually warm period during winter can bring a plant out of dormancy far to early and then when the cold returns, the plants have lost their protection to the cold and die.

The best way to prevent this is to mulch the base of the plants in late fall. The mulch will act as an insulator, so that when temperatures go up unexpectedly, the ground will stay cold and the plants will continue to stay safe in their dormancy.

These articles may be helpful:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/mulch/mulching-plants-in-winter.htm

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/environmental/protecting-plants-winter.htm

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