Karl Foerster Grass is an Easy and Elegant Addition to Your Landscape
Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' Grass, also known as feather reed grass, is an ornamental grass with tiny little flowers that look feathery at a distance.
The colorful foliage is a medium or dark green to begin with and the plumes on top start as a pinkish-purple.The Karl Forester grass plumes will eventually mature into a beautiful golden wheat color. The plumes blow gracefully in the wind, making them a tranquil addition to any landscape.
The Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass starts flowering in early summer, will mature at the end of summer or early fall, and will keep its beautiful tan color until winter. The plant grows in clumps, and although it develops seeds, they are sterile, so they won’t self-seed as rampantly as you think!
Landscaping Karl Foerster Grass
Calamagrostis Karl Foerster Grass looks beautiful as a specimen plant on its own, but it’s more commonly planted in rows or groups along paths and borders since they’re compact, and the vertical lines of the plant add exciting texture to the landscape.
When To Cut Back Karl Foerster Grass
You should try to trim your Karl Foerster feather reed grass before the start of spring, often mid to late February. Karl Foerster grasses should be pruned by spring to keep them from looking unsightly and long. Longer grass also has an increased chance of spreading seeds. Try trimming your Karl Foerster reed grass to about 6 inches before the growing season.
Learn more about how to care for your Karl Foester ornamental grass when you visit our blog, When to Cut Back Ornamental Grasses.
How Fast Does Karl Foerster Grass Grow?
Karl Foerster grass will often return to its full size each season after getting trimmed, so it's quite the fast grower. It grows to be 4 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide in each clump. It’s common to space Karl Foerster grass clumps evenly along sidewalks, where the clumps can be divided as they grow wider.
When To Plant Karl Foerster Grass
The best time to plant Karl Foerster reed grass is in the spring or fall, depending on how cold your winters will be in your climate zone. After planting, it will take your Karl Foerster grass anywhere from 3 to 4 years to reach full maturity.
Does Karl Foerster Grass Need Full Sun?
Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster' will grow well in full sun or partial shade. It may need some afternoon shade in hot climates, but it’s a hardy plant that isn’t too picky! Making sure it has enough water when exposed to direct sunlight all day will give the plant a better chance to survive extreme heat.
Karl Foerster Grass Care
Karl Foerster Grass grows well in hardiness zones 5-11 and it is highly salt tolerant to coastal areas.
They’re tolerant of hot and cold temperatures, and although they like moist soil, they can tolerate drought when necessary. Karl Foerster grass is an easy plant to care for and will look great in any landscape.
Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass prefers moist soil and can even be happy in wet soil. It’s an excellent plant to use in areas prone to collecting water, although standing water isn’t ideal.
If necessary, this hardy ornamental grass can deal with drought. It isn’t the best for the grass, so try to water it as often as you can, but know that it will forgive you if you can’t.
This ornamental grass can tolerate many different soils, especially heavy clay soil. Well-draining soil will be best, but the occasional puddle won’t hurt! They’re light feeders, so you won’t need to fertilize often unless the soil is poor quality to begin with.
Karl Foerster Grass Pruning
Karl Foerster grass clumps won’t grow too much beyond 18 inches in width, so planning your landscape is pretty easy. Still, you may want to prune the clumps to be smaller if they seem to be getting too large. You can do this mid-spring by dividing the clumps at the bottom near the roots.
If you want to promote bushy growth, you can mow the grass down to the ground before new growth appears in late winter. This will help the plant quickly reach its maximum width in the following growing season.
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Sunlight Full Sun / Partial Shade
Mature Width 2-3 ft
Mature Height 4-6 ft
Growing Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 111