Are you considering moving your ornamental grass but unsure if fall is the right time to do it?
With different types of grasses and varying climates, it can be confusing to know when the best time to transplant is.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of moving ornamental grass in the fall, including when to divide, how to cut back, and what to avoid.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, read on to learn more about this beautiful and low-maintenance plant.
Can I Move Ornamental Grass In The Fall
The short answer is yes, you can move ornamental grass in the fall. However, there are some important factors to consider before doing so.
Firstly, it’s important to know what type of grass you have. Warm-season grasses should not be divided in the fall as they are moving into dormancy and will not be able to establish themselves in your landscape. It’s best to wait until spring when they begin their period of active growth.
On the other hand, cool-season grasses can be transplanted in either spring or fall. Early spring is recommended as the best time to divide them, but if you do it in the fall, be careful that the freeze/thaw cycles of winter don’t heave the plants out of the ground.
It’s also important to cut back your ornamental grass before transplanting. If you didn’t cut them back in the fall, do so before dividing and transplanting. Cut back the entire clump so that only 2 to 3 inches of the grass stems remain above the soil line. This can be a tough task for larger and older clumps, so consider using powered hedge shears or a chainsaw for easier cutting.
When transplanting, remember to water your grass like it’s a new addition to the garden. This will help it establish itself in its new location.
Why Move Ornamental Grass In The Fall?
While it’s generally recommended to divide cool-season grasses in the spring, there are some reasons why you might choose to move them in the fall. For one, you may have missed the window of opportunity to divide them in the spring and want to take care of it before winter sets in. Additionally, if you live in a region with mild winters, transplanting in the fall can give your grass a head start on establishing itself before the growing season begins.
Another reason to move ornamental grass in the fall is to create more space in your garden. If you have a particularly large clump of grass that is taking over a section of your garden, dividing and transplanting it can help create a more balanced and visually appealing landscape. Plus, by transplanting in the fall, you’ll have more time to plan and prepare for other plantings in the spring.
Finally, moving ornamental grass in the fall can be a good way to refresh your garden and give it a new look for the upcoming season. By dividing and transplanting your grasses, you can create new groupings or fill in areas that may be lacking. And with proper care and maintenance, your newly transplanted grasses will thrive and add beauty to your garden for years to come.
When To Divide Ornamental Grass
Knowing when to divide your ornamental grass is crucial to its success in your landscape. The best time to divide your grass depends on the type of grass you have.
For warm-season grasses, it’s best to divide them in the spring or early summer before they actively flower. This is when they are beginning their period of active growth and can establish themselves in their new location.
Cool-season grasses, on the other hand, can be divided in either spring or fall. Early spring is recommended as the best time to divide them, but if you do it in the fall, be careful that the freeze/thaw cycles of winter don’t heave the plants out of the ground.
It’s important to note that dividing your ornamental grass every three to four years is beneficial for its health and vigor. This helps prevent die-backs in the center of clumps and keeps them vigorous.
When you notice that the center of your grass appears to die back or becomes hollow, it’s a good indication that it’s time to divide. Other indications include if the grass begins to outgrow its spot in your garden or container.
Remember to cut back your ornamental grass before transplanting. Cut back the entire clump so that only 2 to 3 inches of the grass stems remain above the soil line. This will help it establish itself in its new location.
Dividing your ornamental grass can rejuvenate the plant and give you new (and free!) plants to fill your beds with beauty. The process itself is simple and just requires a little knowledge of the grasses’ growing cycle and picking the right time to dig, divide, and replant.
How To Cut Back Ornamental Grass
Cutting back ornamental grass is an important step in preparing it for transplanting. It’s best to do this in the fall before the grass goes dormant. Cool-season grasses can be left up through winter for added interest, but it’s still important to cut them back before transplanting.
To cut back ornamental grass, use a pair of sharp shears or a chainsaw. Cut the entire clump down to about 2-3 inches above the soil line. Be careful not to trim the grass too harshly, as this can irreparably harm the plant.
For larger and older clumps, powered hedge shears or a chainsaw can make the task easier. Just be sure to wear protective gear and follow safety guidelines when using power tools.
Cutting back your ornamental grass not only prepares it for transplanting, but also helps to keep it healthy and vigorous. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your ornamental grass will thrive in its new location.
What To Avoid When Moving Ornamental Grass In The Fall
While it is possible to move ornamental grass in the fall, there are some things to avoid to ensure the success of the transplant.
Firstly, avoid dividing warm-season grasses in the fall. As they move into dormancy, they will not be able to put on adequate roots to establish themselves in your landscape. It’s best to wait until spring when they begin their period of active growth.
Secondly, be careful not to damage the roots when digging up the clumps. Ornamental grasses have shallow root systems, so it’s important to dig carefully around the clump to avoid breaking or cutting the roots.
Thirdly, do not let the roots dry out during the transplant process. Keep them moist and covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until they are replanted.
Lastly, avoid transplanting during extreme weather conditions such as high winds or freezing temperatures. This can stress the plant and make it more difficult for it to establish itself in its new location.
By following these tips and avoiding these common mistakes, you can successfully move your ornamental grass in the fall and enjoy its beauty in a new location.
Tips For Transplanting Ornamental Grass Successfully
Transplanting ornamental grass can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be successful. Here are some tips to help you transplant your ornamental grass successfully:
1. Choose the right time: As mentioned earlier, warm-season grasses should not be divided in the fall. On the other hand, cool-season grasses can be transplanted in either spring or fall. Early spring is recommended as the best time to divide them, but if you do it in the fall, be careful that the freeze/thaw cycles of winter don’t heave the plants out of the ground.
2. Cut back your grass: Before transplanting, it’s important to cut back your ornamental grass. Cut back the entire clump so that only 2 to 3 inches of the grass stems remain above the soil line. This will make it easier to handle and transplant.
3. Dig carefully: When transplanting, dig up as much of the root ball as possible to avoid damaging the root system. It’s also important to dig a hole that is larger than the root ball to ensure that there is enough space for the roots to grow.
4. Water thoroughly: After transplanting, water your ornamental grass thoroughly to help it establish itself in its new location. Water it like it’s a new addition to the garden.
5. Mulch: Mulching around your transplanted ornamental grass can help retain moisture and protect it from extreme temperatures.
6. Monitor and maintain: Keep an eye on your transplanted grass and monitor its growth regularly. Fertilize lightly when vigorous new growth appears in May and keep it watered during dry spells.
By following these tips, you can successfully transplant your ornamental grass in the fall and enjoy its beauty in a new location.
Caring For Transplanted Ornamental Grass In The Fall And Beyond
Once you have successfully transplanted your ornamental grass in the fall, it’s important to care for it properly to ensure its survival and growth in the following seasons.
During the fall and early winter, it’s best to leave your grass alone. This will allow the plants to provide four seasons of interest in your garden. Most grasses require no care during the winter, and if you don’t cut them back, they can look quite beautiful once frost or snow covers the grass. Additionally, leaving the grass up during the winter provides great shelter for local animals living nearby.
When spring arrives, it’s important to cut back cool season grasses as soon as the snow clears. These grasses grow primarily in spring before temperatures exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and in fall when temperatures cool. They keep their color throughout the heat of summer without much growth. Cut the grass back by two-thirds, leaving one-third in place. Pruning too drastically can harm the plant. Some examples of cool season grasses include fescues, blue oat grass (Helictotrichon), tufted air grass (Deschampsia), and autumn moor grass (Sesleria).
It’s also important to note that ornamental grasses are low-maintenance but grow quickly and benefit from being divided every few years. If you notice that your transplanted grass is growing too large or becoming unruly, it may be time to divide it again.
In addition to dividing your ornamental grass, it’s important to fertilize it regularly to promote healthy growth. Use a slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in mid-summer for best results.
Overall, transplanting ornamental grass in the fall can be a successful endeavor if done properly. Remember to cut back the grass before transplanting, water it regularly after transplanting, and care for it properly in the following seasons for optimal growth and beauty in your garden.