Ornamental Grass Care
Posted: Mar-10-2004 at 10:41am
My sole ornamental grass book deals more with design and use and doesn't give much specific info regarding care of grasses so I'm stumped how to treat 2 of my newer grasses.
Carex 'The Beatles' has lots of burnt tips, looking rather haggard and in need of a haircut (probably what the real Beatles heard a lot back in their day ). I think this is an evergreen Carex and so is only supposed to be "combed", not sheared but combing doesn't get rid of the dead looking tips. Any one grow this or have advice how to treat it?
Also, I read that it will make a fine lawn substitute in full shade which would work great for one area of my garden where the lawn is thinning due to tree shade. Does anyone know how much foot traffic this will take or should I use pavers with the Carex, too?
The other one is Pheasant Tail grass, Stipa arundinacea (now known as something else but I can't recall what the new name is). It also is an evergreen that looks like it could use some rejuvenating. How do I treat it?
Posted: Mar-10-2004 at 11:36am
I can't answer your questions, Lisa, but I thought I would post one along with yours and that is, does anyone trim back hard their Mexican Feather Grass at this time of year? The foliage is mixed green and golden and looks so full (have it in a pot at the entry). I really don't want to cut it back as I love to watch it move (it is so soft).
Posted: Mar-10-2004 at 1:42pm
It has been my experience with evergreen Carex's that they tend to look ratty this time of year. It is not recommended that you sheer them and for most of them I don't. The exception being Carex buchannii I sheer back to within 6 inches.
New growth will eventually hide the rattiness in some Carex although I do not have experience with yours.
So in lawn substitute does it mean it gets mowed?
Posted: Mar-10-2004 at 1:48pm
Deb, I'm glad you said you do shear back the buchananii since I did this already as it was looking way ratty. I had divided it last year and put it into two large pots. I hope it looks big and lush by June and garden tour time.
Posted: Mar-10-2004 at 5:31pm
Oh, thanks for the tip on buchannii! I'll prune mine tomorrow.
And I'll leave Carex 'The Beatles' alone. No, Debbie, I don't think they meant for this grass to be mown, more as a free form lawn substitute. It doesn't grow taller than 6"-8" according to 'net sources. I think that has to include what drapes back down because I don't think mine is much taller than 4". I think clumps of this with paving stones would look really neat in my secret garden. And hopefully it won't struggle like the lawn is in that area.
Carolyn, I cut my Mexican hair grass back yesterday because someone (can't remember who) told me I could. I hope I remembered correctly!
Okay, anyone know what I should do about the Pheasant Tail grass, Stipa arundinacea? Thanks!
Posted: Mar-10-2004 at 9:10pm
Carolyn I hope it is in its glory as with all your garden the weekend of the tour!
Yes I started trimming my buchannii even after being told not to as it gets too out of control and messy for my tastes. I have cut it back for three years in a row and it doesn't phase it a bit.
Lisa, Oh I didn't realize this was Anemanthele lessoniana syn. Stipa arundinacea. I bad. Yes cut if off now but don't wait much longer. I am starting seeds of this puppy this spring so I can have lots of it!
Posted: Mar-11-2004 at 8:32am
I don't shear my evergreen carex either. Just cut out the dead leaves. Seems to do good with that treatment. Speaking of shearing, anyone see any life from their phormiums yet?
Carolyn, you are on the Salem garden tour?
Posted: Mar-11-2004 at 10:35am
Thanks, Jeanne, for your pruning tip for evergreen carex.
Thanks, Debbie, for supplying the new name for Pheasant Tail grass. I knew it began with an "A" but I had Anomatheca laxa, a pretty little flower in the lily family, stuck in my brain and I couldn't get past that. I'll cut it back today.
Posted: Mar-11-2004 at 12:05pm
Yes, JeanneK, I'll be included in the Gilbert House Garden Tour on June 4 & 5, Will you come for a visit?
I think the focus this year is on South Salem.
Should I post this to the Events section of the Forum? It's a long way for our Washington friends to travel, but maybe ???
Posted: Mar-11-2004 at 12:35pm
It may be but also for the Oregon participants this will be of interest them.
Posted: Mar-12-2004 at 5:30pm
Have you heard this one? about every 5 yrs, burn the dead looking grass in late fall or winter--read this about pampas grass and a friend did it and said it was a great restorative measure.