Planting and Caring for Ornamental Grasses
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 26, 2010)
Have you ever noticed how beautiful some gardens, parks, and landscaping efforts are? Often this is done with the help of some ornamental grasses. If you are thinking of adding a few of these decorative grasses to your yard or garden, then it only makes sense to learn the basics of taking care of them. Luckily, planting and caring for ornamental grasses is a remarkably easy thing to do.
- Keep in mind what ornamental grasses are. The first thing that you need to do when planting and caring for ornamental grasses is to keep in mind what they really are. While you may, at first, think of the type of grass that you walk around on, ornamental grasses are usually much different. These types of grasses are used more for decoration and...well, ornamentation than the kind you use for your lawn. This means that these types of grasses should be used more for accent, than anything else.
- Plant like you would a tree. Typically when you plant some ornamental grasses, you will do it after it has already begun growing somewhere else. This means that you will be transplanting the grasses in a manner similar to a tree. Simply dig a hole where you want the grasses to be. Make sure that the hole is deep enough to hold the root ball (the surface should be just above where the top of the root ball will be). After placing the grass into the hole, fill the entire hole with some water, and allow it to drain. Once the hole has drained fill it up with soil and then water again.
- Periodic trimming. In the early spring time, you should cut back your ornamental grasses. Cut the grasses back to about 4 or 5 inches above ground level to allow for proper growth during the rest of the year. Refrain from cutting the grasses during the fall or winter, as this could damage the grass. In addition, by not cutting the grasses during the winter you will still have some attractive accents when the rest of the garden and landscape is dormant.
- Fertilize and water properly. Ornamental grasses should be fertilized after having been cut back and weeded. Typically you should only need to use about 1/4 cup of fertilizer every spring. The fertilizer mixture should be a slow release, balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer that does not have a high nitrogen content. When watering your ornamental grasses keep in mind that you should only need to really water them once a week. Simply make sure that you are not over watering.