Ornamental Grass Makes a Great Addition to
University of Illinois Extension
Ornamental grasses have gained a lot of popularity over the last
several years. If your landscape doesn't include these low
maintenance plants, consider adding a specimen or two this
In southern Illinois, ornamental grasses are best planted in
the spring of the year. That way, the plants get established
before the heat of summer arrives. Another advantage of spring
planting is that garden centers, nurseries and mail order
companies usually have a wide variety of plants available at this
time of year.
Planting ornamental grass is a relatively easy process. Follow
the same steps as planting other perennials in the garden. Avoid
planting the crown of the plant too deep. Always try to match the
original soil line of the plant.
Water newly planted grasses immediately after planting. Then,
place a 2- or 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants. Mulching
will help maintain a cool soil temperature and preserve moisture
throughout the summer. Mulch also provides some winter protection
for the plants.
Keep in mind that newly planted grasses are susceptible to
drying out. On a hot summer day, young grass that has not been
properly watered will dry out in a very short period of time.
Before you plant ornamental grasses in the landscape,
determine how far apart they need to be. Spacing is a matter of
personal taste. Planting grasses close together will give a
massing effect. Planting grasses farther apart may give a very
spacious look to the planting. A rule of thumb is to plant
grasses as far apart as their mature height. A common mistake is
to not realize how wide the grass clumps will be four or five
years down the road.
For more information on ornamental grasses, visit the Hort
Corner web site at
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