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Couple of questions

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by arblazeman, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. arblazeman

    arblazeman LawnSite Member
    from Ar
    Posts: 11

    What type of ornamental grass is this and does it need to be trimmed back during the winter months? We are in North West Arkansas where we see some snow and ice.

    Thanks in advance.


  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,200

    We call it maiden grass and it was cut down on most commericial properties about a month ago. It would be better to leave it until late winter but most people get anxious to clean it up. When you cut it down(normallly to 18") it could get a very very hard freeze and actually take it out.....hasn't happened in our area but possible.
  3. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,993

    I usually let it go till Spring and then cut it down to about 4 inches or so. Ive actually had some die because I cut down in the fall and winter so now I tell the customers to let it go till spring and cut it when I do a spring cleanup.
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    It's a bad idea to cut most ornamental grasses down in the fall. First, they do add winter interest to the garden/property. They are even more interesting with some snow on them.

    Secondly, and most importantly, a slow spring thaw can seriously damage them if they have been cut down. The moisture can penetrate the stems and get into the roots, which can rot the root system. It's best to wait until the first sign of new growth in the spring, and cut them down then to about 6". These aren't hostas... no flush cutting or fall cut backs.

    Yes, I see a lot of guys hack them down in the fall.... I can em the grass cutters. They know nothing about horticulture. They see grass, they wanna cut it. :nono:

    Clumps this big can be split nicely. If the property owner likes them, and would like to have more, splitting and transplanting would work well here. No cost, just labor and a bit of knowledge.
  5. arblazeman

    arblazeman LawnSite Member
    from Ar
    Posts: 11

    Thanks for the information, I appreciate everyone's help.
  6. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I always wondered why people cut their ornamental grasses back in the Fall. During the Winter months, they are the only attractive thing to look at out your window with the snow as a backdrop.
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I'm with ya, rodfather. I really like including ornamental grasses in my garden designs. Some varieties hold up to the snow better than others. One of my favorites is Porcupine grass. Similar to Zebra grass with striped variagations that run horozonatlly across each blade, but the Porcupine is not as invasive as the Zebra can be. Very nice flowers that will last through the winter, and they won't collapse under the weight of the snow in most cases.

    When I have a customer that has a clump that is getting a bit too big, I split it. A very sharp long kinife rigth through the middle of the clump, and you have a large established plant ready to go elsewhere, either on that customer's property or to another's. You can't even buy plants this big without losing a lung. For a split Maidenhair like these, I'd charge the new customer 30 bucks. That's still cheaper than you could buy one this big, IF you could even find one. A maidenhair in a 1 gallon pot retails for almost 20 bucks.

    The time to split these is late spring, as they really prefer warm soil temps. Keep in mind, there are some ornamnetals that should be cut back in the fall.... not many of them, but there are some. Ornamental grasses will transplant better if the soil temps are 60 degrees or higher. In fact, NOT splitting really big clumps is actually bad for the grass.

    It's things like this that allow me to maintain a higher price schedule than other LCO's. Bare spots in hedges is another. Correctly managing a property is a whole lot more interesting than just mowing and edging!
  8. Bumblebee the mower

    Bumblebee the mower LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I dont have any customers that have those, but I have some in my yard. Ihave cut them real low about 2 weeks before I think they are about to start growing again. I think the best thing to cut them down with is a pair of gas powered hedge trimmers for a clean cut.

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