Eragrostis spectabilis browning early

Asked September 25, 2017, 1:24 PM EDT

Hi there, I'm reaching out to see if you could identify some reasons why grasses in planters on a roof turned brown so early in the season. We specified Purple Lovegrass for its pink/purple fall color, but it went from green to brown pretty quickly starting the first week of September. The plant is alive and healthy (I think), but it never showed fall color before turning brown. They were planted last fall, so this is their first full year. It is planted in multiple locations on different terraces of a building and the appearance is consistent throughout. One idea was that we had an atypical cool and rainy August, which may have triggered early dormancy. Is this a theory we should consider further? Thank you!

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

1 Response

We contacted a perennial plants grower about your question. She thinks it's possible that the cool, rainy August might have triggered early dormancy. Several of our staff were at the US National Arboretum today and noticed that the stand of Eragrostis spectabilis there was also more brown than purplish in color. Other possibilities might be poor establishment, or too much water (if they are not getting enough drainage).