* ornamental grasses upkeep

Posted on February 13th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

Spent a great drizzly afternoon working in the yard today.  I always feel like I’m really accomplishing something doing garden stuff.  It’s amazing that in just a few hours we finished filling the compost bin, plus filled up the entire 96-gallon yard waste bin (which gets composted by the city).

Today was ornamental grasses upkeep day. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m doing, so don’t trust me at all at all if you are looking for gardening advice!

I really like the landscaping with ornamental grasses that the house came with, but we need to catch up on maintaining them.  Last weekend I went through and finger-combed out another 96 gallons of dead grass and debris from around and under the blue fescue (or at least I think that’s what they are).  The finger-combing worked pretty well, especially wearing rubber-coated gardening gloves.  By accident I discovered this weekend that a rake is a much better tool for the job, though.  Using one of those flexible metal rakes like for leaves, you just comb out the leaves, dead stuff, and other debris from the grass tufts.  I could not believe how much junk was still in there.  They look so much better.  They’re evergreen, so I think that should do it for maintenance on them for a while, though one of them has a wet, moldy clump inside it that was only revealed by removing all the detritus.  Haven’t figured out what to do about that yet.

We also have a couple of great big Ravenna grass plants (I think) and a bunch of smaller grasses that I haven’t yet guessed an identity for.  We let all the grasses stay out over the winter since they’re so pretty.  The gardening books and websites I’ve read say you should cut down all the dried grasses in late February/early March to allow room for new growth and to remove all the dead material from last season.  Since I’m out of town the next couple of weekends, and since we had the warmest January on record, we went ahead and cut everything down today.  The seed heads were starting to look kind of ratty anyway.  The small grasses I just bundled in my hand and cut with hand shears, but I left the giant ones for Mark and the electric pruner.


The remaining tuffet is like 2 feet across!  It was unbelievable how much junk there was in there too.

Now to wait and see if we killed them. :P

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