Ornamental Grasses

Zone 3 Hardy Grasses for Gardens

Agriculture – Zone 3 Hardy Grasses for Gardens

Grasses have a wide variety of functions in the garden. Whether it’s a sea of ornamental foliage or a thick green lawn, grasses are adaptable, easy to grow, and can generally do well in many types of situations. Nonetheless, for cold climate gardeners for grasses in zone 3, it can be a bit difficult to find the right plants that can perform all year round and survive even in the coldest of winters. With some good research you should be able to source a good online nursery in Canada for ornamental grasses, plants, and flowering shrubs. This type of sourcing is becoming more popular and economical for the small gardener or the full-time landscaper especially if they’re not available or grown locally.

The choices of Zone 3 grasses are quite limited, and the gardener needs to weigh out the tolerance of the plant to snow weight, cold temperatures, ice, and shorter seasons for growth. Winter hardiness is therefore an important factor in zone 3, where temperatures average at around -40 degrees to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant roots can freeze even though the snow cover usually offers some protection.

The USDA zone 3 stretches in North America along the Canada-US border. In spite of the cold winters, summers have relatively warm to hot temperatures. Some areas average as much as much as 37 inches of precipitation annually, while other parts are quite dry. The growing season typically vary from 2 to 4 months.

In micro climates, whether they are created or naturally occurring, allow the hardy grasses to thrive successfully over winter in zone 3 climate. Other factors play a significant role in making the plants to thrive or fail, including the amount of sunlight, the soil conditions, high temperatures, water levels, etc are equally important. You will therefore be able to grow the marginally hardy plants when these conditions are ideal.

Fine Fescues


These are some of the coldest tolerant of the turf grasses. Although they are generally not recommended for high traffic areas, these plants do have moderate tolerance to drought as well as high shade.

Tall Fescues

These course, hardy zone 3 grasses are typically tolerant of extreme cold. They tend to form dense, thick lawns, which are generally durable with regular use.

Kentucky Bluegrass

This grass is used across the United States and is durable for regular use. Nonetheless, it’s not shades tolerant, and tends to form dense, thick lawns.

Blue oat grass

This is a clumping grass, for partial to full sun. It usually has an attractive golden seed-head during the fall seasons. An example is the Karl forester, a feather-reed grass which grows to a 4 to 5-foot-tall incredible extravaganza that has an erect bristling seed head and a compact slender form.