How to Care for Dwarf Grass


Many species of grasses provide forage for livestock and wildlife, while other types guard against soil erosion along roads and waterways. In many landscapes, grass provides an expansive groundcover for human and animal activities. Many homeowners and landscape designers plant ornamental grasses for the interest and attraction these specimens add to yards and parks. In addition to the standard varieties of ornamental grasses, miniature specimens, known as dwarf grasses, enhance flowerbeds and other landscaped areas. Correctly planting and maintaining these dwarf varieties ensures healthy specimens within your yard.

Step 1

Examine your landscape to determine the best location to plant your dwarf grasses. Many types of ornamental grasses, including dwarf varieties, require large amounts of sunlight. Avoid planting these dwarf grasses near shrubs and taller plants that block the sunlight. Select areas unsuitable for taller, ornamental grasses, such as areas near walks, entryways and in front of windows. Select locations near water supplies to ensure adequate moisture during dry and arid conditions.

Step 2

Build a raised bed for your dwarf grasses. Display these dwarf varieties in separate areas to keep them from fading into surrounding plants. Enclose your selected site with a prefabricated planting border or make your own by lining landscaping bricks around the site's perimeter. Do not worry about building a tall wall for your planter. A single row of bricks provides an adequate depth for growing dwarf grasses.

Step 3

Remove all existing grass and vegetation from your selected site before planting dwarf grasses. Eliminate stubborn weeds by pulling their entire root systems from the soil. Keep weeds out of your bed by regularly weeding the site throughout the growing season.

Step 4

Loosen the soil in your planting site with a garden shovel. Turn over the top few inches of soil to allow room for expanding roots. Lay a few inches of compost over the top of the loosened soil and work into the topsoil with a rake. Add enough additional topsoil to bring the soil level near the top of your raised planter.

Step 5

Plant your selected varieties of dwarf grasses in your prepared soil. Allow adequate space between individual plants for mature growth. Add a few inches onto each plant's expected mature width to ensure sufficient room between each plant. Do not crowd these small grasses. Crowding often causes plant loss due to inadequate exposure to sunlight and limited airflow around the plants' stems.

Step 6

Prune your dwarf grasses by cutting out wilted or dead sections in healthy plants. Use sharp scissors or garden shears to snip out wilted and damaged blades of grass. Encourage healthy growth by pruning heavily in the fall, after plants go dormant for the winter.

Step 7

Protect your dwarf grasses during the winter by placing some clean mulch, such as fresh straw, over the top of each bunch of grass. Remove this mulch early in the spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant dwarf grasses near the roots of large trees, as these trees often deplete the surface soil of valuable nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Prefabricated border or bricks
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Scissors or garden shears
  • Mulch


  • University of Florida: Dwarf Fountain Grass
  • University of Georgia: Dwarf Ornamental Grasses for Florida
  • Colorado State University: Ornamental Grasses
Keywords: dwarf grass, ornamental grass, short grass

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.