Explain Ornamental Grasses.

Explain ornamental grasses. Many types of grasses are considered ornamental, like full sun and should be cut back every year to allow new growth. There are quite a few different ornamentals. You've got...

There are quite a few different ornamentals. You've got your Muhly grasses. There is Hamlin Grass. There are different types of ornamental grasses and most of them like full sun. You want to make sure you give them an area that is well lit. Some of them produce more color than others. They all produce a flower or seedpod that is attractive. Gulf Muhly is probably one of the most colorful ones that has a kind of feathery seed head with a purple tinge to it and it blooms in the fall. There is also fountain grass; there is a green fountain grass and a purple fountain grass. The purple fountain grass actually has purple foliage and the seed head is magneto white, so that is pretty attractive also. The purple fountain needs a little bit more moisture than the rest of them and it is probably not as cold-hardy. The Mexican feather grass is really popular in this area and it also needs full sun. It will take a little bit of pot shape, while your big Muhly is just a larger grass and has a white seed head as well. So, there are a lot of different grasses out there. Plant them in a well-drained area with full sun. Some of these grasses need to be cut back in the wintertime. Your fountain grass will probably need to be cut back and so does your Mexican feather grass. Fountain grass should be cut back to about 8" tall. The rest of them you will cut pretty much all the way down to the ground. The reason for cutting back the grasses is because they are not cold-hardy, the foliage will turn brown in the wintertime. Cutting it is going to remove the dead foliage and give the new foliage room to grow. When plants are cut, they respond by putting up new foliage. Grasses will respond to that by putting out new growth and the growth will be more lush, and it will be greener and denser. When you cut back the grass, you also want to go ahead and apply an all- purpose fertilizer down. Granular fertilizer will help speed up the process of flushing it out as well. You can do the cutting back from January to March, that is the best time to do it. Once the ground temperature reaches 65 degrees, the grasses starting shooting up.

Most of the ornamental grasses will come back with larger bases each year. A few spread more by seed. For example, Mexican feather grass spreads really rapidly by seed. Most of the other ones just reproduce by the roots. So for the root-base grass, the longer it has been in the ground, the larger the root base will get. They spread pretty fast. They will probably double in size per season, same size probably in width, but the grasses that I mentioned to you, they are some of the smaller ornamental grasses, so they only get 2-3 feet tall and may be 4 at the most and about 2-2.5 feet wide.

© High Speed Ventures 2011