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Darryl G
07-23-2011, 12:17 PM
Hey guys! I got a call to provide an estimate for transplanting 2 large ornamental grasses. I've removed/transplanted all sorts of shrubs and trees but never ornamental grasses. My only experience that comes close is "stealing" from the outside edges of them for new transplants and it was way more difficult than I expected. I resorted to using a hatchet and was surprised how deep the roots went down.

These grasses are pretty big, 3 to 4 feet across and 6 feet tall and in a corner of the house. On first thought I was thinking of about $200 bucks for the job but I'm concerned that it's going to end up being a pretty tough job to do by hand...big large heavy root balls...and a machine really isn't an option I don't think due to their location next to the house. Am I exaggerating the difficulty of digging these babies up?

I just don't want to under bid it and end up there all day and have root balls I can't move and of course don't want to over bid it either, but i'd rather error on the high side and not get it. I do have a hand truck but not a nursery cart.

Thanks in advance for any insight. Your thoughts/experience?

White Gardens
07-23-2011, 12:51 PM
If they are that big, then I suggest just taking a 1' x 1' split off of them and transplanting those.

Then either kill off the rest or just hack away and remove them with no worries.

Even at their current size, it's going to be extremely hard to get one large root-ball out of them without splitting them.

Grasses generally are prolific growers, so even a smaller split will only take a season or two to get back to mature size.

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JDiepstra
07-23-2011, 12:57 PM
You are correct... Moving the entire thing by hand would be a massive pain. Massive.
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Darryl G
07-23-2011, 05:36 PM
Ok, thanks guys....yeah, kinda what I thought.

The reason they're being moved is that they just don't belong where they are. I think White's recommendation of just saving part of them is probably the best bet.

MMADDUX
07-23-2011, 06:22 PM
If they are that big, then I suggest just taking a 1' x 1' split off of them and transplanting those.

Then either kill off the rest or just hack away and remove them with no worries.

Even at their current size, it's going to be extremely hard to get one large root-ball out of them without splitting them.

Grasses generally are prolific growers, so even a smaller split will only take a season or two to get back to mature size.

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Thats right.. I chop some in half nearly every year. I have even used and old hand saw to cut them up. Good luck.

White Gardens
07-23-2011, 09:17 PM
Thats right.. I chop some in half nearly every year. I have even used and old hand saw to cut them up. Good luck.

The Victory Garden had a good episode that showed a guy using a battery operated saw-zaw to cut and split grasses. He even used it to cut out dead centers in the middle of some clumps and threw dirt back in to help them fill the centers out again.


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MMADDUX
07-23-2011, 09:32 PM
The Victory Garden had a good episode that showed a guy using a battery operated saw-zaw to cut and split grasses. He even used it to cut out dead centers in the middle of some clumps and threw dirt back in to help them fill the centers out again.


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I believe that. Grasses are a pain to split. Have you ever hear of anyone burning them to keep them from dying in the center?

White Gardens
07-23-2011, 09:42 PM
I believe that. Grasses are a pain to split. Have you ever hear of anyone burning them to keep them from dying in the center?

No, never actually heard of that. I know people do that in general (in the right locations of course) do it just as it's easier to deal with the mess that way in the late fall or early spring.

I think we even discussed the burning method in my Master Gardners course, but the centers were never part of the discussion.

Over my few years of experience it just seems that there are some that are more susceptible to the centers dieing and some not.

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VO Landscape Design
07-23-2011, 11:27 PM
When you divide them up expect the remaining plants you transplant to look a bit wimpy. Seems to me when ever I split ornamental grasses they look like they are dieing back, but they bounce back later. For something that handles the sun they seem to be temperamental when divided.
VO

Stillwater
07-24-2011, 12:18 AM
older ornamental grasses will decline from center out even when properly cared for. They should be divided when this starts. This is what we use they are expensive as hell but they pay for themselves and I never regretted the investment. I have 2 of them. These baby's will cut through a dence Maiden grass in a instant. I had damaged the motor on one of them in a freak accident I called the factory and They FedEx a new motor overnight I was impressed with their instant customer service. These are not cheap tools they are built big time. So if you just occasionally transplant they might not be for you.





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White Gardens
07-24-2011, 08:23 AM
I've seen those power shovels and they look sweet.

Rarely would I use one, but when needed it would come in real handy.


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Lite4
07-24-2011, 02:58 PM
Whoa sweet. That would be a great fit for small trees in our nursery.
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ny scaper
08-03-2011, 03:37 PM
Re: These ornamental grasses.
I have a new customer who has let her two ornamental grasses get out of control. Over 6' high for both and 5' wide. She likes them, but not so big. What's the best way to trim them? Just top them off? And in the fall, can I just cut them to the ground and expect them to come back to a more manageable height in the spring or is that a No no for these? Thanks guys and didnt mean to hijack just thought you guys had answered his question.

MMADDUX
08-03-2011, 05:20 PM
Re: These ornamental grasses.
I have a new customer who has let her two ornamental grasses get out of control. Over 6' high for both and 5' wide. She likes them, but not so big. What's the best way to trim them? Just top them off? And in the fall, can I just cut them to the ground and expect them to come back to a more manageable height in the spring or is that a No no for these? Thanks guys and didnt mean to hijack just thought you guys had answered his question.

Cutting them back does no good. Normally you cut them back early spring. All you would be doing is cutting dead growth from last year. So what you want to do is dig however much you want out. Warning they are hard to dig up... good luck..

ny scaper
08-04-2011, 08:43 AM
Thanks MM. I did some searching after I post and gathered that. Thanks for the info.