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Caring for Ornamental Grasses

The two most common questions we get about Ornamental grasses are "When should I cut my grass back" and "How and when should I divide my ornamental grass?" This article goes through tips and techniques on cutting back and dividing grasses.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

The two most common questions we get about Ornamental grasses are "When should I cut my grass back" and "How and when should I divide my ornamental grass?" This article goes through tips and techniques on cutting back and dividing grasses.

In recent years interest and use of ornamental grasses has exploded. Ornamental grasses can fit into almost any garden theme. Ornamental grasses lend height, movement, and long season color to the landscape. Along with the proliferation of ornamental grasses have come a host of questions on how to care for them properly. Our two most common questions are "Do I need to trim my grass back and if so when?" and "How and when should I divide my ornamental grass?" We will give you some general rules to follow when cutting back and dividing ornamental grasses.

Grasses are generally classified as cool season, warm season, or evergreen. The rules change just slightly depending on which type of grass you have. Cool-season grasses put on most of their growth in spring before temperatures begin exceeding 75 degrees Fahrenheit and in the fall when temperatures cool down. They generally maintain good color through the summer but won't grow much when it is hot. Warm-season grasses won't start growing until mid to late spring or even early summer. Their major growth and flowering happens when the weather is hot. They will usually turn shades of brown for the winter. Evergreen grasses are usually plants that look like grasses but aren't actually classified as grasses. Plants like the sedges and carex are grass-like but not grasses.

I love rules of thumb, they make life much simpler than it would otherwise be. They help make sense out of the clutter of specific information. I found ornamental grasses rather confusing until I realized that there are a few rules of thumb that pertain to most of the grasses.

First Ornamental Grass Rule of Thumb: Cut back warm season grasses in fall or by mid to late spring.

Warm season grasses turn shades of brown as the weather turns colder. Once your warm season grasses turn brown you can trim them back at almost any time. If you like to tidy your garden in fall or if you live in an area where fire can be problematic trim warm season grasses so they are just a few inches tall. If you live in an area where fire generally isn't a problem you can leave the dried grasses and seed heads in your garden for winter interest. Snow or ice encrusted ornamental grasses can be quite beautiful. If you leave the trimming until spring try to make sure to cut them back to the ground (you can leave a couple of inches) by late spring, before new growth begins. Not all ornamental grasses look good through the winter, trim back those that don't look good in the fall.

Second Ornamental Grass Rule of Thumb: Cut back cool season grasses in very early spring.

Cool season grasses tend to look good even as the weather cools. Leave their foliage in place until spring and then as soon as the snow is gone cut them back. Leave about 1/3 of the plant in place. Trimming cool season grasses too harshly can irreparably harm the plant.

Now you know when, in general, to cut back ornamental grasses. However, how are you supposed to accomplish this? First find a good pair of gloves, thick leather gloves are probably best. Some ornamental grasses can have very sharp edges. For smaller grasses a pair of pruning shears will probably be sufficient. Trim about 2/3 of the plant for cool season grasses. For many grasses it is easier to tie the grass in a bundle before trimming, this makes clean up a snap. For short grasses this might not be possible.

If you have a large, established clump of grass, pruning shears probably aren't going to be enough and gloves become essential. You may need to use a weed eater (use one with a blade rather than string), electric or gas powered hedge trimmers, or even a chain saw. Once again, tie the tops together for easier clean up, just toss the bundles in to your compost pile. If you have only one of these large grasses you can cut them back with pruning shears but it isn't easy. I know. I've done it!

Dividing grasses is one way to increase the number of plants without spending additional money. Occasional division will help grasses remain active and growing and can help renew older grasses. Some grasses, over time, will die out in the center and dividing will rejuvenate the clump.

Third Ornamental Grass Rule of Thumb: Divide warm season grasses anytime spring through mid-summer.

All ornamental grasses should be divided when they are actively growing but not while they are flowering. If the plants are dormant when they are transplanted they won't establish a good root system. Warm season grasses generally start growing in late spring or early summer and have their active growth period during the heat of the summer. Warm season grasses will tend to bloom in mid to late summer.

Fourth Ornamental Grass Rule of Thumb: Divide cool season grasses in spring or early fall.

Cool season grasses are actively growing in spring and fall. These grasses can be transplanted at either time of the year but early spring is probably the best time to divide. If you do divide them in the fall, be careful that the freeze/thaw cycles of winter don't heave the plants out of the ground, this happened to a couple of my coral bells last winter.

Fifth Ornamental Grass Rule of Thumb: Divide evergreen grasses and grass-like plants in spring only

Evergreen grasses don't ever go dormant. Dividing plants wounds them to some degree. For evergreen grasses this wounding will really affect their ability to live through the winter.

How exactly do you divide a grass? For smaller grasses it is very similar to dividing a perennial. You dig up the grass clump and then use your hands, a pair of pruning shears, a knife, or a sharp shovel or trowel to cut or pull the clump into several pieces. Make sure that each piece has some roots. Replant them before the roots dry out, you may need to cover the exposed roots to protect them on sunny days. Just a reminder that grass leaves can be very sharp, wear gloves to protect your hands. I can tell you from personal experience grass cuts can really hurt.

Larger grasses use the same basic principles but due to shear size and toughness can be harder to deal with. It can take a strong back, or three, to get some of these very large grasses out of the ground. Dig and/or pry the clump out of the ground (don't be afraid of using a crow or pry bar) and then divide it into pieces, making sure each piece has some roots. An old hand or hack saw, an axe or hatchet (it may be easier to place the axe blade in one spot and then pound it through the grass clump using a large hammer or maul, I know I can never hit the same spot twice when swinging an axe), a very sharp shovel, a reciprocating or concrete saw, or a chain saw (this won't be gentle on your grass and will tear it up a bit, a chain saw should be your last resort) can all be used to divide the plant into pieces. These big grasses are quite tough.

An alternate method would be to cut the grass to the ground then use an axe or other tool to cut it into wedges. Pry or dig the pieces out of the ground. Once these larger pieces are removed from the ground you can cut them into smaller pieces using sharp pruning shears.

If your main clump is still looking quite healthy and hasn't outgrown its space, you can replicate the plant by removing small chunks of the grass from around the outer edge. This may be easier than dividing the entire plant.

Once you have the pieces removed from the main clump, trim off any dead material, replant the pieces, and water thoroughly. Newly divided grasses will need frequent watering while they become established. Once they are well rooted you should be able to decrease or quit watering.

Now that you've pried a monster from the ground, chopped it up into little pieces and planted the pieces all over the yard. Sit down with a cool glass of lemonade and bribe your spouse or a friend into rubbing those aching muscles!

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Fri, 05/04/2018 - 8:07am

A neighbor gave me some of his grass to plant . We are still deciding where to plant it. It has been sitting in a wagon for a week. I a have watered it regularly. Will it still grow
Dan Pittsburgh

Sarah Geoghegan's picture
Sarah Geoghegan Fri, 06/22/2018 - 9:21am

Dan,
You should get the grass in the ground as soon as possible. It needs to bee in the ground so it can establish itself.
Sarah Geoghegan
PW

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 04/29/2018 - 3:40pm

I planted 10 Shenandoah Switch Grasses' last summer and they were thriving! I cut them back about a week ago, (end of April) but unlike all the other plants in my yard, I am yet to see any signs of life from them. We live in CO. When should I expect to see them start to regrow, or are they gonners? What can I do to stimulate growth, considering they're not dead?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:28am

Will one 6" pot of Little Bluestem fill out and spread or should they be planted in clumps of 3?

Sarah Geoghegan's picture
Sarah Geoghegan Fri, 06/22/2018 - 9:11am

Hi there,
The Prairie Winds 'Blue Paradise' has a spread of 20 - 24 Inches
Hope this helps!
Sarah
PW

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Fri, 01/26/2018 - 1:31pm

We are putting in a pool. It is January in Indiana and they have begun excavating and dug up some of my ornamental grasses. They did dig them up in one big clump for me. Can I save them? If so, do I try to plant them now or wait for spring? If I don't plant them, what should I do with them? Thank you!

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:01pm

That is a good question.  We are sometimes forced to dig plants in less than ideal times.  Do not divide it and replant it now, that would add a great deal of stress to an aready stressful situation (for the plant - and yourselves, since construction projects are never stress free!).  The ideal situation would be if you could temporarily stash the whole clump somewhere in your garden.  If you have a spot where you plant annuals that is currently just hanging out for the winter, dig a hole, drop your grass into it.  Fill in soil around it and then spread a nice thick layer of straw over the area to help your grass retain moisture. Then in the spring when you start to see that the grass is growing, pop it back out of the ground, divide it and replant it.

Now, ideal is not always possible.  Other options, woiuld be to put it in a large container, place it in a sheltered location and overwinter it in a pot.  You could also try wrapping it in burlap, again putting it in a sheltered spot and then insulate around it a bit with straw or something of that sort.  If you can keep it basically frozen so it doesn't break dormancy until spring, it'll have the best chance for survival.

Good luck.

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 12/11/2017 - 4:36am

Hello, we just moved into a new house and I’m not sure what kind of grass they had here, so I don’t know how to care for it. It is y'all and willowy - perhaps 5 ft tall that runs along our fence to separate the neighbors yard. There are some seeds that spread from the leaves and now as it is winter it has turned a golden brown. I did not cut it back, as I wasn’t aware that I needed to, but now we have just had a big snow and many of the stalks have broken. Will this grow back and replenish in the spring?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 12/11/2017 - 1:38pm

I'm not sure which specific grass you have, but it should be fine.  In late winter or early spring, go out and trim the grass back leaving a few inches of old stock. The grass should sprout back up from the base.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:59am

What happens to the grass if I do not cut it back. I recently had shoulder surgery and there's no way I'm going to be able to get through this before winter sets in

Cindy Meyers's picture
Cindy Meyers Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:28pm

You do not need to worry! It will add winter interest to your yard and also be a haven for wildlife. Just cut it back in late winter/early spring.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 11/12/2017 - 3:01pm

Hi. I live in 9-10 zone. Delaware. I have potted purple fountain on my deck. I know I should plan to cut back in spring but do I water them throughout the winter? If so, weekly or monthly? Ty.

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 11/20/2017 - 5:53pm

While you don't want to keep them wet, you will want to regularly check the soil and water when the soil is dry.  It's basically the same as in the summer, except you'll water way less often.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 10/23/2017 - 1:04pm

I just bought two Miscanthus sinensis 'Gold Bar' at my local nursery's end-of-season-sale. Since they're warm season grasses, should I plant them now or overwinter them in their pots? I live in zone 6a in south-western Ontario, Canada.

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 11/20/2017 - 5:52pm

You can go either way with that.  If your ground has not yet frozen and the grasses are solidly hardy (rather than marginally hardy), then I would go ahead and plant it now.  Until the ground freezes it will be putting down roots, which is a good thing. Once the ground freezes, I wouild put a good layer of winter mulch, at least 3 inches thick, for both plants.  Winter mulch helps to insulate the ground from the freeze/thaw cycles that can be really hard on plants.  If you are in an area where there is a consistent blanket of snow through the winter, the mulch is likely unnecessary.  If you ground is already frozen or if you just prefer not to plant right now, depending on the zone you live in versus the zone the plant is hardy to, you can overwinter it either outdoors or in something like an unheated garage.  This article has more info on overwintering perennials/shrubs in pots.  https://www.provenwinners.com/overwintering-perennials-shrubs.  Good luck!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:58pm

hello,

can you please provide a list of warm season and cool season plants?

Cindy Meyers's picture
Cindy Meyers Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:09pm

The following is a link to plants by region (climate) that you may find helpful.
https://www.beauty.provenwinners.com/plants-by-region-splash

You will find many helpful articles on both the Proven Winners website; https://www.provenwinners.com
and our Proven Beauty website; https://www.beauty.provenwinners.com
Just use the search area on both sites.

Cindy
Marketing
Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 09/23/2017 - 6:34am

I have a large 5 ft tall zebra grass that is now starting to fall over. I live in northeast Ohio can i cut this back to a foot tall now without hurting the plant?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 10/31/2017 - 1:14pm

I live 2hours north of NYC. I have zebra grass and many others on my new to me property. So it was established. I cut mine down last fall leaving about 8" . It returned with no trouble in the spring 2017. It seems to be quite hardy. I enjoy watching it blowing in the wind but once it dies and all the stems are blowing all over the yard it makes a mess everywhere it blows. This is why I cut it all back in the fall of 2016. Happy gardening

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Wed, 09/27/2017 - 12:11pm

You can certainly trim it back to help neaten the appearance of the plant.  However, cutting back to just a few inches can potentially harm the plant. So don't cut it back too hard.  I just trimmed on of my grasses back to about 18 inches tall for the very reason you state.  it wasn't zebra grass, but I think if you leave at least a foot of foliage you should be ok as far as winter hardiness goes.  Then in early spring/late winter, cut it back to just a couple inches back.

 

Kerry


Kerry Meyer
Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 07/11/2017 - 7:51pm

We have a new home and had the landscapers plant 3 clumps of ornamental grass next to our porch. We watered the plants well and for the first several says they looked great. Then suddenly they started to dry out and brown, nothing helped, they just kept drying out. We left the plants all summer and cut them back in late fall. This past spring, almost no growth, just a few shorter leaves. The landscaper was clueless so ge dug them out and planted new ones. And to our surprise, the same pronblem. We watered, fertilized and within a few days the plants browned and look almost completely dead. Any ideas?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Thu, 07/20/2017 - 9:50am

I highly suggest that you get a soil test done.  If you live in the US, Cooperative Extension for your state likely gives access to soil testing.  Try googling:  the name of your state and cooperative extension - to find contact information and info on programs offered.  I checked in with one of my coworkers and he thought that based on how quicky things are happening that it might be a salt issue. The soil test can tell you if that is an issue or not, plus point you in the right direction if salt isn't the culprit.

Kerry Meyer

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 06/20/2017 - 7:31pm

My ornament grass is browning in the middle while the outer part of the plant is green.. What could the problem be?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 06/26/2017 - 12:33pm

This is common for older, larger ornametnal grasses.  The best thing to do is to dig and divide the grass and replant.  This article has information on when the different kinds of grasses should be divided.

Kerry Meyer, Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:29am

We had 10+ year old ornamental grasses that had gotten HUGE. We dug all out and put a bit back. What we dug out we divided into pieces and stacked behind the house until we did a new bed which we are now in the process of doing. Thought I would try to get these to take instead of spending tons of money for new stuff. I am watering the heck out of it and adding some root stim fertilizer. Anything else to suggest? Do you think they will come back? Or having the roots out of the ground that long are they dead?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 06/26/2017 - 12:23pm

If they don't have green shoots growing, I think you are probably out of luck.  However, I have been wrong before.  If you really want to give them a try go ahead and plant the grasses and then maybe plant annuals nearby that can provide color while you wait to see if the grasses decide to come back to life.  If, they do come back - awesome.  If they don't, the anniuals are going to die in the fall anyway, so you can start planting perennials and shrubs in the fall (really the best time for planting many annuals and shrubs).  Going that route gives your grasses a fair chance to show they made it and if they haven't you'll have time to consider your plan B for fall planting.

 

Kerry Meyer, Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:51pm

Two summers ago we planted three 1 gallon sized grasses - I think they were a Maiden grass of some sort. We placed them in the ground, and set a 4 inch tall, 12-14 inch diameter, plastic ring around each of them, to help keep the decorative rocks from getting into the plant clump. The first summer, they grew well, but never flowered. I didn't expect them to, since they were new plants. We cut the dead grass back to about 2 inches in the late fall. The 2nd year (last year), they came back very well. They filled in the plastic rings, grew about 3 1/2 - 4 feet tall, put out many flowers/plumes in the late summer, and looked gorgeous. We again cut them back in late fall, early winter, but about 4 -5 inches tall. This year, they've barely come back at all. Each of the clumps is still mostly the dead, 4-5 inch stubble from last year. They have varying amounts of new growth, mostly toward the outside of the clump, and seem to be way behind other, similar grasses I've seen in the local area of Fort Collins, Colorado. We had a fairly dry and unusually cold winter... Did I kill them by cutting them back in the fall instead of summer? Should I have cut them shorter, as we did the first winter? Are the plastic rings a bad idea? Should I have separated/thinned the clumps prior to the start of this years growth? Would it help to cut out part of the clumps now, or wait until fall? Please help me!!

Rick Schoellhorn's picture
Rick Schoellhorn Tue, 06/13/2017 - 6:13pm

OK so let's see here -
1. You are definitely better off waiting to cut perennial grasses back til spring. The less disturbance in fall, the less tress the plant is under going through the winter.
2. The long dry winter you just had likely didn't help anything, and especially if the plants were very dense going into winter. It usually can't hurt to add just a bit of water when temps are above freezing during the winter. Winter winds (common in Fort Collins) can really dry things out even down into the soil. So if in doubt pour a gallon or so on each plant when weather is warm enough for it to sink in.
3. Before getting too worried about survival and dividing, etc., make sure you have given all of the plants a deep soaking watering and applied some basic fertilizer. That will get anything there growing and it is much easier to transplant a happy growing plant than one that is (for reasons unknown) not doing so well.
4. Def not an issue of not cutting them shorter, so don't worry about that. I would not cut them shorter than 6" in any year. The big issue on cutting is when you do it, and you want to wait until spring if possible.

Hope this helps and happy gardening!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 06/04/2017 - 10:59am

In mid spring I moved a large grass to another place in my yard with similar sun, drainage, etc. The grass is alive and many of the blades look healthy, but quite a few have withered. Would it be a mistake to cut the grass back to encourage new growth?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Tue, 06/06/2017 - 9:58am

When you dig up a large plant and move it, you cannot come close to getting all of the roots, well  I suppose you could but it would take a massively large clump to preserve most of the roots.  So when you dig a large plant you are by default decreasing the number of roots dramatacially.  This means that it has fewer roots and those roots occupy a much smaller amount of soil from which to gather moisture.  So make sure you are watering a lot.  Since it has probably been at least a month since you moved the grass, I would try to make sure that I am watering really thoroughly about every 3 days - maybe more often if it is really hot.  I would not cut is back drastically at this point since I am afraid that a second shock could be problematic for the plant.  You can certainly remove dead plant material, but leave the good leaves in place, the plant needs that foliage to collect energy from the sun.  Since a lot of the plant still looks healthy, I think your plant will ultimately be fine, but don't at this point give it a drastic trim.

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 05/29/2017 - 9:24pm

I have a question, early spring I cut back our tall grasses. Recently the new shoots appearing are not growing from the center of the clump. It is growing on the outside of the clump instead. Is this normal? I have had them for 3 years and this is the first time I have experienced this.

Thanks in advance
Adrienne

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Wed, 05/31/2017 - 9:47am

How far along is the development of the new growth?  I think it could very well be that growth started at the edges of the plant but that it will also occur through the center as the season progresses...   Without more information though I cannot give a definive answer.  Also, if you know what specific grass it is, that would be helpful as well.

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 05/20/2017 - 1:37pm

I waited until spring to cut back my ornamental grass. One is a" fireworks" pinkish red, the other is green. Both were only about 18 inches high. There are about 10 of them! I followed the directions of cutting back to about 4 inches. Now, it's mid-May and there is no new growth showing. None. Is this normal?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Fri, 05/26/2017 - 9:51am

Unless you live in a climate with very mild winters, Pennisetum Fireworks and Sky Rocket (green and white) are essentially annuals and need to be replanted each spring.  It is hardy only in zones 9 to 11.  So depending on where you live, the plant should not be expected to come back this year.

 

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 04/02/2017 - 5:08pm

I have many mature clumps of various ornamental grasses. Generally I cut them all back in the spring. However, there are three large clumps with no winter damage that I think I would like to leave as I beleave the dead and living shoots would look good bases on the surrounding landscape element. Do you know what I should expect and will it damage the clump?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 04/12/2017 - 11:24am

Leaving the plant material from the season before is fine. It might make the grass look less tidy this year, but it shouldn't harm the plant.

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 01/30/2017 - 7:59pm

Deer Grass, Karl Forester, and fountain grasses are all warm grasses. True? Should i cut back my deer grasses (which are quite large) every other year in the spring?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Fri, 05/26/2017 - 10:09am

I don't grow Deer Grass, but I do cut back all of my warm season grasses either in the fall after they go dormant or in the spring, before they start active growth - or if I am behind I do it after they have just started growing, but it is best to do it before they start growing.

If your grasses are performing they way you like them to and look the way you like them to look, then you don't have to cut them back, but in general cutting them back once a year is normal.

 

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 11/19/2016 - 4:03pm

My ornamental grasses are way too thick (wide). They are drowning out my other plants. When I try to divide them, the roots are like cement. A shovel doesn't work. A saw doesn't work. What can I do?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 03/28/2017 - 8:30am

Use an axe to divide large ornamental grasses. I had one so huge I had to use an engine hoist to lift it out of the ground. It was taking over all of my other plants but it's so beautiful in the summer with its shiny leaves and leaves swaying in the summer winds.

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:24pm

I suppose as an absolute last resort you can opt for Round-up or some other herbicide, but I don't really think that will be necessary.  Large ornamental grasses that haven't been dug and divided in quite sometime are going to be difficult to dig up.  That is just absolutely going to be true.  

So how to dig them is the question.  You don't say where you are located and since we are headed like a freight train for December I think at this point waiting for spring is going to be the best thing to do.  One other plus of spring is that spring tends to have moisture and good moist soil shoud help make the digging easier, which isn't to say easy.  if you can't find an opportune time to dig (say 2 days after an inch of rain falls, when the soil is nice and moist, but not a mud pit, then water the ground thoroughly.  Think more along the lines of a soaker hose which will allow the moisture to sink deep into the soil, not watering by hand for a few minutes, to make digging easier.  

If it is still too difficult, and it may well be, then it is time to think about outside help.  It doesn't need to be professional help, the teenage football player down the block or your 22 year old nephew - anyone who is strong and willing - will do.  You just need somone who is willing to take directions from you and can physically handle the job.  Water well the day before though, it's the nice thing to do.

I took this question to be about the digging, but re-reading your question it could also be about dividing the root ball after you have dug up the plants.  The original title of this article was "Did You Say Use a Chainsaw?!" and it can be very appropriate.  Getting the roots moist can help some, but a chainsaw really might be needed to make good progress in dividing the grasses.  You could also just consider taking some pieces from the outer portion of the clump, replanting them in the open spots and then discarding/composting the rest of the root ball.  If you start with a smaller chunk of the grass, it will take longer for it to really get going and to fill out, but more than likely the pieces will survive.  Then remember that digging and dividing every 3 to 5 years will make the job easier....

Good Luck.

Kerry

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Fri, 10/14/2016 - 2:01pm

I live in Texas Panhandle at we do get cold temp. and snow. Can get down to 0. Should I put some kind of mulch around the base of the plants and if so, what kind of mulch. Thanks, Wally

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:26pm

Winter Mulch can be very helpful for protecting plants, especially in areas where snow cover isn't consistent (a continual blanket of snow is very insulating) or there are regular freeze/thaw cycles in the winter.  If your plants are comfortably within your hardiness zone, then winter mulching likely isn't necessary for suvival.  If your plants are somewhat marginal for survival in your area, then winter mulch could well be the thing that tips your plant in favor of survival.  This article covers the ins and outs of winter mulch and should be helpful:  https://www.provenwinners.com/learn/it-could-be-matter-life-and-death.

Kerry Meyer
Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 09/18/2016 - 11:22pm

We bought a house last spring that had several clumps of what I believe is purple fountain grass. The first summer the plants were beautiful. I cut them back to 8-10 inches in winter and they came back way way bigger. The clumps are easily 6 ft wide and 5ft tall. Is there a way to cut them back or divide them so they will not be so big next year? I really like the look of them, but they are overwhelming the yard.

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:02pm

It can sometimes help control height to cut the plants back later in the season. Although that won't do anything for the clumps getting wider.  Digging and dividing is the best option for diminishing the overall size.

Kerry

Kerry Meyer
Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 08/28/2016 - 6:55am

My ornamental grasses are coming out into my grass area in clumps. How can I get rid
of them in the grass??

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Thu, 09/01/2016 - 10:58am

Really the only option you have it to dig them out or pull them out of the grass.  Once youv'e removed the parts that encroaching on your lawn, you could try adding edging around the bed where the ornamental grasses are located.  This will act as a barrier to prevent them from entering the lawn in the future.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 08/14/2016 - 2:05pm

I have veriggated aund dark green grasses, I have cut them back n the fall but notice part of the dark green grrasss never comes back, should I leave it alone.

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Mon, 08/29/2016 - 11:29am

Do you have any idea which grass it is?  Some grasses are annuals and some are perennial, so it could well be that the dark green grass is annual in your area.  Without more specifics I can't get you a better answer than that, unfortunately.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 07/25/2016 - 11:38am

Hi Kerry
I have a Purple Fountain planted on the side of my house in fairly small half moon size bed. Unfortunately it is now too large and overbearing for the space that we have in that area.
My husband wants it cut back right now but it is end of July and I don't know if you can cut it back or dig it up and separate
it this time of year. We are in south Florida and the plant is in full bloom. Can you advise?

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