When to Transplant Ornamental Grass (And Why)

Do you want to plant ornamental grass for landscaping or to beautify your home or you already have one growing in your lawn?

Did you know that with just a grass stand, you can fill your entire lawn with ornamental grass through splitting and transplanting to increase your supply? When it comes to transplanting, here’s what I know about the grass:

Ornamental grass should be transplanted in spring or early summer. You can increase the yield of your grass if you set the just-dug-up root ball on a hard surface. Above all, don’t transplant after midsummer because their slow root growth will hinder the growth of the ornamental grass.

Learning how to transplant ornamental grass will help you to divide and transplant your ornamental grass on your own. This post will guide you on when to transplant your ornamental grass

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Transplanting Ornamental Grass (what you should know)

There is no particular grass called ornamental grass. The term “ornamental grass” covers a wide range of annual and perennial grasses with narrow foliage, which can be used as grass lawn alternatives or in landscaping.

Ornamental Grass

To transplant ornamental grass, you need to divide or split from the parent grass to grow new plants. Hence, dividing precedes transplanting, and both dividing and transplanting go together.

The best time of the year to divide and transplant ornamental grass largely depends on whether the parent ornamental grass is a warm-season variety or cool-season variety.

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Warm-Season Variety vs. Cool-Season Variety Ornamental Grass

Perhaps, you already have ornamental grass growing in your lawn or garden but you don’t know what variety it is, you can study the growth patterns carefully to figure out if it’s a warm-season variety or cool-season variety.

Here is a pointer:

Cool-season ornamental grass will begin its growth early in spring. You might also notice that they grow better in cool temperatures, and may remain partially green even during winter.

However, during hot drought periods, cool-season ornamental grass would become dormant and turn brown if there is sufficient watering. During this time, supplemental irrigation would be necessary to keep the plant fresh.

On the other hand, warm-season ornamental grass will begin its growth later in the season once the soil is warm and the weather becomes more stable.

This variety grows well in warmer temperatures and will maintain its green appearance even in high temperatures and limited moisture.

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When to Transplant Ornamental Grass

1). When to Transplant Cool-Season Ornamental Grass

Divide and transplant cool-season ornamental grass in early fall, after the hot summer is gone.

Some cool-season ornamental grasses are “Karl Foerster” feather reed grass (​Calamagrostis​ x ​acutiflora​ “Karl Foerster”) and “Elijah Blue” cultivar of blue fescue (​Festuca glauca​ “Elijah Blue”).

“Karl Foerster” feather reed grass features pink-purple flower stalks and an arching habit. Festuca glauca​ “Elijah Blue” is low-growing fescue and can grow up to about 12in. in height. “Elijah Blue” features narrow, blue-green leaves.


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When to Transplant Warm-Season Ornamental Grass

The best time to divide and transplant warm-season ornamental grass is in very early spring, before or just as the grass’s new growth starts. Some varieties of warm-season ornamental grasses are the big bluestem (​Andropogon gerardii​), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum​).

The big bluestem can grow as tall as 6ft. and change color as the growing season progresses. Switchgrass is a moisture-lover with a columnar form.

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Division and Transplanting Techniques

Whether you’re dividing and transplanting a cool-season ornamental grass or warm-season ornamental grass, you need to water the grass thoroughly for about one hour until the soil is wet and the ground is softened before dividing the plant.

Cut the top growth of the grass’ foliage to about 6 inches or so that they are one-third of the length they were before cutting back. Using a sharp spade, carefully dig around the grass clump. Begin about 12 inches to 18 inches out from the outer edge of the grass and lift the grass clump from the ground.

You may also divide the clump into half while it’s still in the ground and lift out the portion to further divide and transplant.

Spray the root ball with your water to remove excess soil and reveal the plant’s roots. Divide the grass clump into two or more pieces as you want using the spade. You may use a small ax or a sharp garden knife to separate the roots.

Once you have divided the grass clump into pieces, replanted one of the pieces in the original hole, and transplant other pieces in other locations. The replanted and transplanted grasses should be at the same soil depth at which the parent ornamental grass grew.

When transplanting, spread out the roots, gently fill the remaining space in the planting hole with soil, firm the soil around the crown of the plant, and watering thoroughly.

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Special Considerations When Dividing Ornamental Grass

Divide most ornamental grasses, especially the large types, every three or four years. If a grass clump has not been divided in many years, its middle portion may likely be dead. In such a case, dig up the entire grass clump, but take divisions only from the healthy root areas, leave out the dead middle section.

If the weather is extremely hot, wait until the weather is cool and temperatures fall before dividing grass. Very hard weather makes the division process very hard on the ornamental grass as well as on the gardener.

Use alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol to clean and sterilize your pruning and division tools after each use to minimize the chances of spreading pests and diseases from one plant to another.

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When transplanting ornamental grass, timing is crucial for success. In our latest blog post, we delve into the key considerations and steps to ensure a seamless transplanting process for your ornamental grass. Learn about the optimal season, preparation techniques, and aftercare measures to promote the health and vibrancy of your grass. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, this guide provides valuable insights to enhance your landscaping efforts. Discover the secrets to a thriving ornamental grass transplant and elevate the beauty of your outdoor space. Read more at PlantGardener.

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Now you know that there is no standard time when you should divide and transplant your ornamental grass.

Instead, the best time to divide and transplant your ornamental grass depends largely on the variety of ornamental grass you have – whether it’s the cool-season variety or warm-season variety.

If you need help with knowing the best time to divide and transplant your ornamental grass, don’t hesitate to contact us, and if you want to share your grass division and transplanting experience, kindly use the comment box below.


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