How To Plant And Care For Ornamental Grasses

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This article provides instructions and tips for how to plant ornamental grasses
by Brett · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · September 09, 2013 · 4,774 views

Planting Tips For Ornamental Grasses

Below are general guidelines for properly planting most types of container-grown ornamental grasses in the landscape. Planting method may vary depending on the type of grass and it's specific soil and water needs. Most ornamental grasses prefer a well draining soil and are exceptionally drought tolerant when established. That being said, there are other ornamental grasses that prefer consistently moist soils. The instructions below apply more to the types and varieties of ornamental grasses that prefer a well draining soil.

  • STEP 1 - Use a sharp round point shovel or motorized auger to dig a hole at least twice as wide and no deeper than the the rootball of the plant.

  • STEP 2 - Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil you are planting in, you might need to add a soil amendment to the native soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in heavy clay soil thoroughly mix in some good organic matter, a good planting mix, and/or sand at a 50/50 ratio with the clay soil. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider adding in some peat moss and or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in fertile, loamy soil you might not need to add any soil amendments at all.

  • STEP 3 - Remove plant from container and scratch exterior of root ball to a depth of 2 inches to loosen feeder roots.

  • STEP 4 - Place the plant in the planting hole making sure that the top edge of the root ball is slightly above ground level to allow for settling. If necessary, place more soil in the bottom of the planting hole and tamp to achieve proper height. Keep in mind that with the exception of bog grasses most ornamental grasses do not like wet feet. Constantly wet or soggy soil can cause damage to the roots or cause excessive and accelerated growth, which can cause foliage to fall over to the ground.

  • STEP 5 - While holding the plant straight in position with one hand, use your other hand to start backfilling around the rootball with your soil mixture. Tamp lightly as you backfill to remove air pockets.

  • STEP 6 - *Optional. If you live and garden in what is a typically dry climate with dry soil, you can build a low, water retaining ring to help capture water from rain or irrigation. With remaining soil mixture build a water retaining ring to 2- to 3-inches in height around the perimeter of the planting hole.

Feeding Ornamental Grasses

Most ornamental grasses do fine without any fertilization. If you choose to fertilize do so lightly with a mild, slow-release plant food. To retain adequate moisture and suppress weed growth, apply a 2-inch layer of shredded wood mulch or pine straw.

Watering Ornamental Grasses

Water your newly planted ornamental grass deeply at time of planting. Thereafter, monitor soil moisture by using the finger test, and water only when necessary to keep the soil damp but not soggy or contantly wet. Ornamental grasses planted while in dormancy, during the winter, will not require near the attention to watering. When established, most ornamental grasses require little if any supplemental water.

Pruning Ornamental Grasses

In late winter and before new growth begins to emerge, most ornamental grasses that go dormant (foliage dies) during winter can be cut back to a height of just a few inches above the ground.

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