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Care Guide for Ornamental Grasses

Looking to add some gorgeous greenery to your landscape? Ornamental grasses are a beautiful, easy-care addition that will give your yard or garden a touch of elegance. Ornamental grasses are a perfect solution! Not only do they offer a beautiful, natural backdrop for your other plants, but they also provide ambient noise and movement that can create a truly relaxing atmosphere. And best of all, they're far easier to care for than traditional lawns - simply cut them back once a year and they'll be good as new. So why not give them a try? You won't be disappointed!

But when it comes to these low-maintenance plants, you may be wondering how to care for them.

PLANTING, ideal time for planting your ornamental grass is from early spring to early fall right before frost of winter arrives. select an area with FULL SUN, ornamental grasses are easily grown in a wide range of soils, including clay, alkaline and compacted soils, avoid wet soggy soils, once established grasses are highly adaptable and drought resistant. When planting dig a hole 6-12 inches wider than your new plant's root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball is parallel with the ground level, this is very important, planting the plant deeper than the original top soil line may severely damage the tree. Place the plant in the hole and ensure that it is situated upright, use the excavated soil to back fill around the root ball, tamp down to ensure air pockets are eliminated, thoroughly soak with a hose as you fill in the dirt. Take great care to not leave any gaps or air spaces around the root ball. A 2-3 inch layer of organic hardwood mulch is strongly recommended, it will help retain moisture and discourage weed growth. Apply the mulch over the entire planting area.

WATER your ornamental grass twice a week during the first 2 months to establish a strong root system. Once your new ornamental grass is established, rainfall should suffice for your grass's watering needs, increase frequency during extremely hot days, you should always verify the top 2-3 inches of soil, if dry to the touch is time to water.

FERTILIZING is not necessary, it can promote overgrowth, if you desire to fertilize apply it during spring before new growth begins. Applying a slow-release, 180 days duration, well balance fertilizer is probably the simplest solution and least expensive.

PRUNING Ornamental grasses can be cut back at anytime once the foliage turns brown, however under cool conditions early spring is a good time to trim, cut off about 2/3 of the upper section, most ornamental grasses will regrow fairly quick, providing new blooms by early summer, see more details on how to cut back.

How to cut back Ornamental Grass.
If your ornamental grasses are looking a little worse for wear, it's time to give them a trim. Here's how to do it. First, wait until the grasses are dormant (usually in late winter). Wear gloves, some grass blades can be quite sharp. Then, use a sharp knife or shears to cut the grasses back to about 6-12 inches from the ground. Tie the the whole bundle of grass with a thin rope or paper tape right below the desire area where the cut will be made. As an alternative, many gardeners like to use reusable bungee cords stretched tightly around the grass. Be sure to make clean, sharp cuts so the grasses will regrow evenly.
After you've trimmed your ornamental grasses, they'll look neater and more tidy. Plus, trimming them back will encourage new growth, so your grasses will be even fuller and more lush next year. So get out those shears and get to work!

FAQ about ornamental grasses.

Should ornamental grasses be cut back for winter?
If you have an ornamental grass species that remains attractive through the winter, it’s often best to leave it in place. However, if the foliage of your species depreciates at the end of the season, you can go ahead and cut it back in the fall.

What happens if you don't cut back ornamental grasses?
If you don’t cut back your ornamental grasses, they not only might look tired with depreciated foliage, but they also might spread their seeds in unwanted areas. Plus, fresh foliage in the spring might have a difficult time growing through the depreciated foliage.

How far back do you cut ornamental grasses?
How far you cut back your ornamental grasses depends on the species. Cool-season grasses can be cut back by around two-thirds of their length while warm-season grasses can be cut to nearly ground level.