HOW TO: Plant and Maintain Ornamental Grass

Planting and Maintaining Your Ornamental Grasses
Grasses can be used to define a space in a garden or used as hedges and borders to enclose areas of your landscape. Pairing the right grasses with other elements in your landscape is important. Below we tell you how to plant, maintain, cut, and divide your ornamental grasses!

Different Types of Decorative Grasses

Planting Ornamental Grass

1- Dig a hole as deep and a little wider than the container that your grass is in. 

2- Remove the grass from its container and gently tease out the outermost roots. Tease the roots by loosening them from the container shape in which they came. It's similar to combing your hair; you comb through the roots to loosen them and increase their volume so they spread well and develop.

3- Place the grass into the hole you've dug and fill in around the root ball with the soil that you have dug up. Firm with your fingers so the soil is nice and flat. 
4- Water it well once you've finished and water regularly until it is established. 

   Maintaining Ornamental Grass 

Cut back warm season grasses in the fall or by mid spring.
Warm season grasses tend to turn shades of brown as the weather starts to turn colder. Once this happens, you can trim them back any time. Trim the grasses if you like to tidy your garden, or leave the dried grasses in your garden for winter interest. However if you leave them until the spring, cut them back to the ground before the new growth begins. 

Cut back cool season grasses in the very early spring
As soon as the snow is gone, you can cut these back. Leave about 1/3 of the plant in place because trimming too harshly can harm the plant.

Divide warm season grasses anytime spring through mid-summer
All ornamental grasses should be divided when they're actively growing but no while they're flowering. Plants that are dormant when transplanted won't establish a good root system. 

Cutting Grass
Find a good pair of thick gloves and a long sleeved shirt. Some ornamental grasses can have sharp edges and you don't want to cut your hands or arms when cleaning up the grass.

You will need electric or gas powered hedge trimmers to get this job done. Tie the tops of the grasses together for an easier clean-up and trim about 2/3 of the plant for cool season grasses. 

For small grasses, a pair of pruning shears will be sufficient. Again, tie the grass in a bundle before trimming for an easier clean up!

Dividing Grass

What is dividing?

After several seasons of growing, many perennial plants that grow in a widening clump being to die out in the center and look more like a ring than a clump. Dividing is done to give you healthier, longer living, and even more plants!

For smaller grasses, you dig up the grass clump and use your hands, pruning shears, or a sharp shovel to cut the clump into several pieces. Make sure each piece has some roots!! You have to replant them before the roots dry out to avoid any damage. 

Larger grasses use the same technique but can be more difficult just because of size and toughness. A hack saw, axe, or chainsaw can be used to divide the plant up into pieces, depending on the toughness of the grass.
Treat your divided grasses like new ones. Keep them well watered until new growth appears and provide them with some shade if they appear to be wilting during the afternoon.

For all of our ornamental grasses at Bountiful Gardens, check out our website!


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