How to Care for Ornamental Grass

Overview

Ornamental grass is a large group of plants consisting of a wide variety of grasses grown for cosmetic purposes. Some of the most popular ornamental grasses are pampas grass, northern sea oats and weeping sedge. Several species of ornamental grass can grow up to 15 feet in height, while others are grown as ground cover. Ornamental grasses are drought tolerant and require little care to grow in most temperate regions.

Step 1

Plant ornamental grass in a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Make sure the planting site is well drained but has low fertility, as excessive nitrogen will cause the grass to appear limp instead of growing upright.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding ornamental grass to increase water conservation and to stunt the growth of weeds. Begin the band at least 2 inches from the base of the grass to allow room for growth and air circulation.

Step 3

Water ornamental grass twice per week during the first summer of growth to help establish the root system. Reduce watering to once per week during the following summer and fall. Do not water ornamental grass after the first year of growth unless at least 10 days have passed without rainfall.

Step 4

Feed ornamental grass using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer once per year in early spring, just before new growth begins. Water the grass thoroughly both before and after applying to prevent nitrogen burn. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for proper dosage.

Step 5

Cut back ornamental grass to 6 inches in height during early spring, before new growth begins. Use a chainsaw to easily cut through the stalks of tall ornamental grasses, as they become hard and woody as they grow. This will allow the plant to warm more quickly and begin growth up to three weeks earlier.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Chainsaw

References

  • Clemson University Extension: Ornamental Grasses
  • Care & Maintenance of Ornamental Grasses
  • Spring Care of Ornamental Grass
Keywords: ornamental grass, ornamental grasses, ornamental grass plants

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.