The Q&A Archives: My blue switch grass looks dead or is it dormant?

Question: I planted one of your Blue Switch Grass plants this fall and now (end of May) it is still 'dead looking'. The grass is goldish browan like all winter. Is it dead or just dormant? There is no new growth that I can see but the plant was in fine condition when it was planted. Please let me know what I should do? FYI - The garden center where we purchased the plant has since gone out of business.

Answer: YOur zip code places you in winter hardiness zone 4 and Panicum virgatum is considered hardy into zone 4. So it should have survived unless you are in an extra cold microclimate or it was planted in a very windy, exposed, cold location or possibly in an overly wet location. Also, I hope you mulched around it late last fall.

Usually these plants are trimmed back to the ground each spring (can also be done in late fall), preferably before the daffodils bloom. This allows the sun to warm the soil and encourages new growth from the ground. You might try cutting it back if you have not already done so. When you cut it, take care not to damage any new growth tips that might be coming up from the ground. I hope it is alive.

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