Ornamental Grasses are gorgeous living columns of waving beauty and graceful texture that are a must-have element to any sun landscape! These can be long-lived perennial grasses, so making sure they are planted correctly is a necessity to get them growing on the right foot!
Warm-season and cool-season grasses are divided depending on the temperatures they prefer to grow in. Obviously, warm-season grasses do best once summer's heat kicks in and can withstand higher temperatures and humidity, so they are better suited for Southern climates. Cool-season grasses spring up first thing after the snows melt but then can become dormant in the hottest parts of the year, or just stop growing when the heat is on. Cool-season grasses can handle colder climates and snow-packed winters of the Northern states with ease.
Planting Ornamental Grass can be accomplished in the spring or the fall (or really any time during the growing season as long as you can keep them well watered through the heat of summer).
Spring-planted Ornamental Grasses have the advantage of a full summer of root development to ward off damage from freezing ground temperatures.
Fall planting of Ornamental Grasses should be done 4-8 weeks before the first frost to enable some root development before the chill sets in. Fall planting of Ornamental Grasses may require a light cover of straw, mulch, or hay during the first winter to protect the tender roots.
Really what most all Grasses want (with some exceptions) is a sunny location that is well drained. There are a few that might take a bit of shade, and some of the Red Switchgrasses and Sedges can tolerate some soils that are not as well drained.
Really planting our grasses that were grown in containers can be done very successfully all season long as long as you are careful to watch the watering when you plant.
Planting Ornamental Grass successfully begins with soil preparation on a site that has good soil drainage. Soggy sites are the fastest way to smother and drown root systems for many plants. Because most Grasses are adapted to the prairie environment, fast-draining soil is best for their health and longevity.
That’s it! You’ve planted your Ornamental Grass! Now continue with the rest; spacing them apart at their mature width, and check back each day! Keep uniform soil moisture around the Grass for optimum development. Our horticultural staff recommends using the ‘finger test’ method for daily water checks at the start. That’s where you literally poke a finger into the soil a few knuckles deep and see if it feels moist or feels dry. If it's dry - water. If it's moist - check back that afternoon or the next day.
It is crucial to test often at the start until the plant starts making new roots in your soil when it can start finding water on its own and become less dependent on you for water.
Ornamental grasses should be planted at the same depths as the pot or container they were growing. Planting Ornamental Grass too deep tend to develop roots that will rot in the ground.
Ornamental Grasses do not require large amounts of fertilizer. Soil that is high in organic matter is preferred. Amend the soil, if needed, with ample organic matter, while tilling the soil. Small amounts of a general-purpose fertilizer can also be added while tilling.
Once your Grass has established (usually once it’s gotten through its first year in the ground), you can back off watering and only provide supplemental moisture it during drought if able, and during dry early spring/late fall times of extreme lack of rain or other moisture.
Generally, Ornamental and Native Grass are grown for their extreme fall and winter interest, so do not cut your grasses down in the fall. Each year, cut Ornamental Grass down to 4-6 inches in early spring before you see new growth, rake out the clump to remove dead debris and leaves. Our Garden Blog has great information on Pruning Grass Here! Some of the taller Grasses may require a pruning saw or trimmer if the blades are very stiff. The high silica in Grass blades dulls tools fast.
Every 3-5 years in the early spring or late fall, it’s time to divide your Ornamental Grass clumps to avoid overcrowding and thinning as the crown becomes congested in dead growth.
Taller Ornamental Grass may need some help standing tall through extreme weather and heavy drifting snow. You can bungee cord or tie up your grass clumps during these clumps and even stake them from behind if needed. But when planted in full sun and in a protected area from straight-line winds, your Ornamental Grass will be strong enough to stand tall on its own.
Tough, adaptable, and low-maintenance Ornamental Grass!
Get your Grasses off on the right foot for a lifetime of enjoyment by planting them the right way the first time and giving them the care they need to keep growing strong! Nature Hills has an enormous selection of Ornamental Grass for you to choose from to add this dimension of noise canceling, movement, vertical airy texture, and flowing beauty into your garden!