Are you looking for a low-maintenance yet stunning addition to your garden? Look no further than blue fescue ornamental grass!
With its striking blue-green color and delicate fronds, this perennial grass is a popular choice for borders, edging, rock gardens, and even containers. But how do you care for this beautiful plant?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for blue fescue, from planting to watering to pruning. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn how to make your blue fescue thrive!
How To Care For Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Blue fescue ornamental grass is a relatively low-maintenance plant that can add a touch of elegance to any garden. Here are some tips on how to care for your blue fescue:
Planting Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Planting blue fescue ornamental grass is a simple process that can be done in a few different ways. One option is to start from seeds, which can be sown either indoors or directly into the soil outside. If starting indoors, use peat pots filled with seed-starting mix and plant three seeds per pot. Lightly cover the seeds with soil and keep them moist until they’re ready to be transplanted outside. If planting directly into the soil, wait until after the last frost in spring or in late summer. Loosen the soil and add seed-starting mix, then sprinkle the seeds sparingly on top of the soil mixture and cover lightly.
Another option is to plant blue fescue plants from a nursery. Dig a hole that is as wide as the root ball of the plant and locate it in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Add a granular slow-release balanced fertilizer before settling the plant in the hole at the same level it was in the container. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.
When planting blue fescue, it’s important to keep its basic needs in mind. Blue fescue prefers cooler temperatures, so plant it in spring or fall for best results. Choose a sunny spot in your garden where it will receive full sun all day long. The plant also requires well-draining soil to avoid root rot, so mix the native soil in your garden with coarse sand or crusher fines for good drainage. If planting in containers, make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom.
Dig holes in the soil to a depth of at least 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm), and if your native soil is clay or sandy, fill 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) of the holes with organic matter such as compost or chopped bark. After planting, water the grass profoundly and provide enough moisture for the soil to saturate around the roots. Keep in mind that blue fescue is a cool-season grass, so it’s best to plant in the early spring or late summer. Plant spacing depends on how you plan to use the grass. If using as a specimen plant, make sure to allow space for it to reach its full size without infringing on neighboring plants. If using as a ground cover, space plants 8 to 10 inches apart.
Watering Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Watering blue fescue ornamental grass is an important aspect of its care. While the plant is drought-tolerant, it still needs regular watering to thrive. It is best to water blue fescue during hot summer months to keep it green and growing. Short periods of drought will stunt the plant’s growth, but it will not kill it.
Blue fescue prefers average moisture and dislikes wet feet. Overwatering can cause root rot, so it is better to underwater the plant than to risk providing it with too much water. Depending on the temperature and humidity in your area, you may need to water your blue fescue plants weekly. However, make sure that the soil has dried out between thorough waterings.
If you are growing your blue fescue in containers, make sure to remove excess water after a few minutes in case you poured too much of it. This will prevent the plant from sitting in standing water, which can lead to root rot.
When planting blue fescue seeds or plants, it is important to water them thoroughly after planting to moisten the roots and allow the soil to settle. During the first few weeks after planting, it is important to keep the soil moist by watering regularly.
Once established, blue fescue is fairly drought-tolerant and generally only needs water in hot summer months. If you live in an area with a particularly dry climate, you may need to water your blue fescue more often.
Fertilizing Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Fertilizing blue fescue ornamental grass is not necessary as long as an organic mulch is used around the base of the plant. Compost applied as mulch provides all the feeding that blue fescue requires. It is important to note that blue fescue does not do well with over-fertilization, so it is best to avoid using chemical fertilizers.
To keep the foliage looking its best, it is recommended to hand comb out the dead blades of grass and remove the flower heads. Removing the flower heads can help promote the tight mound shape of the plant. If you choose to leave the flowers, be aware that the plant may produce some seedlings.
It is also important to note that blue fescue plants do not need fertilization when surrounded by an organic mulch, such as compost or bark mulch. This can help simplify the care routine for this ornamental grass.
Pruning Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Pruning blue fescue ornamental grass is not always necessary, but it can help keep the plant looking tidy and encourage denser growth. One of the simplest pruning tasks is to remove the stems of any faded flowers. If you want to prevent self-seeding, it’s best to do this early before the seeds have developed.
In early spring, you can also choose to cut back the foliage to within a few inches of the ground. This will make room for new grass blades and improve the overall appearance of the plant. To keep the foliage looking fresh, remove any dead or damaged blades of grass throughout the year.
If your blue fescue plant is getting old and dying out in the center, you may want to consider dividing it. This involves digging up the plant and cutting it in half, then removing the center part by hand. This will leave you with two healthy plants full of foliage. Division can be done every three to five years or as needed.
It’s important to choose the right time to prune your blue fescue ornamental grass. For cool season grasses, provide water during periods of drought and avoid adding too much fertilizer as this can cause floppiness. Rejuvenation pruning every two or three years can help keep these grasses attractive, but be careful not to cut back too much as this can cause rot. Warm season grasses go dormant in the fall, so it’s best to prune them after they turn brown or in early spring before new growth appears. Wear long sleeves and gloves when pruning as these grasses can be sharp.
Managing Pests And Diseases In Blue Fescue Ornamental Grass
Blue fescue is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but there are a few issues that can arise. One common pest that may affect blue fescue is aphids. These small insects can be controlled relatively easily using contact insecticides labeled for aphid control. One effective method is to use a combination of insecticidal soap and a pyrethroid-based insecticide such as Decathlon 20 WP. Generally, one application is sufficient for aphid control, but a second spray may be necessary depending on the degree of infestation and level of spray coverage achieved.
Plant pathogens can also be a problem for blue fescue, but many of these issues are actually cultural in nature and can be prevented. One common problem is observed within two weeks of planting, where the plants may not actively grow and appear to turn brown. This may be due to poor contact with the potting medium when planted or improper moisture levels. Using fungicide drenches to slow down or stop the deterioration of the clumps will often only have a limited effect. Another common issue is lopsided clumps within the pot, which may be caused by high salt levels in the media, too much irrigation, poor physical properties of the media, or growing in the same pot/medium for too long. These conditions can lead to plant stress and the onset of root rot pathogens.
To prevent these problems, it’s important to pick a medium with good water-holding and drainage characteristics that won’t deteriorate or settle over time. Monitor irrigation practices and fertility levels regularly, making adjustments as needed. Avoid holding blue fescue in a pot for an extended period of time (12 months or more) when possible. By taking these measures, most pest and disease issues can be prevented in blue fescue ornamental grass.