Planting and Care
If you live in a mild climate, plant grasses in the spring or fall. If you live in a cold climate — where temperatures drop to -20°F or lower — plant in spring. Here are some planting guidelines:
  • Remove sod and weed grasses, such as quack grass and Bermuda grass, from the planting area. If these grasses mingle with your ornamental grasses you'll face an ongoing battle to fend them off.
  • Set plants in the ground the same distance apart as their height at maturity. So, if a grass grows to 5 feet tall, plant it 5 feet from its neighbor, measuring from the center of one plant to the center of the next.
  • If you've chosen grasses adapted to your soil conditions you'll seldom need to add fertilizer or other amendments. In fact, too much fertilizer encourages weak and rampant growth and causes plants to flop over.
  • Plant each grass at the same depth or slightly higher than it grew in the container. If planted too deep, water gets trapped around the plant crown, causing it to rot.
  • After planting, water thoroughly. Then, apply organic mulch, such as shredded bark or shredded leaves, over the soil surface between plants, keeping it away from the crown of the plant. Continue to water regularly through the first growing season.
Ongoing Care
Once established, most grasses need little attention, other than a trim in late winter or early spring. Cut grasses back to within 4 to 6 inches of the ground with pruning shears, electric hedge shears, or a power trimmer with a metal blade. The stubble left after trimming helps protect the crown and emerging new growth from inclement weather. As plants age, they might die out in the center. When this happens, divide the grasses. In early spring, dig up the entire plant and slice it into smaller pieces using either a sharp knife or a spade. Then replant the healthy pieces. Dividing large clumping grasses is a big job demanding a lot more muscle power and an ax or hacksaw for cutting the plants into smaller sections. Before digging and dividing tall grasses, cut back the foliage by about a third. Be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from sharp grass blades. Once you've completed these spring chores, it's time to enjoy the delightful sounds and swaying movements of the grasses as the wind passes through them, their feathery flowers and colorful seed heads as the seasons progress. No turf grass can offer all this.
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