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Ornamental grasses are a wonderful plant to use to add texture and diversity when creating a landscape. Many people love the way the leaves and flowers flow in the wind, and the flower heads are often times an aesthetic bonus. These ornamental grasses come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors but all have something to offer. They tend to grow rapidly and take almost no special care once established. Even though they tend to be drought tolerant once they have matured, they need substantial watering when they are originally planted. Ornamental grasses typically like approximately an inch of water per week.

Ornamental grasses tend to go dormant in the winter months and will turn brown. This does not mean they are dead. They, just like many other plants in the landscape, will go dormant to conserve energy and prepare for the next growing season.

Yearly maintenance is a must, but is not very labor intensive. Most grasses will need to be cut back in the late winter to early spring. This allows for the grass to offer all it can to the landscape. Simply cut back the stems to a few inches above the crown of the plant. Since many species are available, it is best to make sure to research your particular grass to know how to properly groom it. Dividing your perennial is also important but only needs to be done once every three to four years.

You will not encounter many problems with grasses as they are very hardy and resistant to many diseases and pests. If the grass begins to look stressed, or disease ridden, the chances are that you have planted it in the wrong location. Check the specifications and see if moving it to another site can help.

There is no doubt that an ornamental grass can make the landscape “pop”. They are very hardy, grow in almost any condition, and have so much to offer. Next time you are adding a new plant for your landscape, consider adding texture, consider adding a grass.

Jeremy Loadholdt

Area Manager

Charlotte, NC

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