Posts Tagged With: fall clean-up

Fall Yard Clean-Up: Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses Fall Clean-UpOrnamental grasses add texture, form and movement to any garden design. Easy to grow, these versatile plants can be found everywhere from flower beds to borders. With just a little maintenance you can keep them adding interest to you garden for years to come.

3 Types of Ornamental Grasses

  1. Cool Season Grasses – Varieties like Fescue, Purple Moor and Blue Oak like the cooler temps of spring and fall. They go dormant during the summer heat. Plant them in the early spring.
  2. Warm Season Grasses – These plants prosper in summer and early fall. Hardy Pampas and Fountain Grasses can grow all the way until the first snow. Plant these in the late spring or early summer.
  3. Evergreen Grasses – These “grasses” actually have many grass-like traits. Sedges and Rushes are in this class. Because these varieties are never dormant, your best bet is to plant them in the spring to allow for stronger root development.

Which Grass Do You Have?

Ornamental grasses are either clumping or running (rhizome forming). Clumping grasses keep to themselves in nice mounds but do need to be divided to stay healthy. Running or rhizome grasses send out growth below the soil surface. They, too benefit from dividing. Some varieties can be very aggressive and will take over a flower bed if left unchecked.

Ornamental Grasses Add Interest to Winter Gardens

Depending on how neat you like your winter garden, ornamental grasses can offer interest to your yard, so consider leaving the foliage. Birds are attracted to the seeds, and frost can turn stalks into icy sculptures. The dead foliage helps to insulate the crown of the plant. Cut the plant back to about 4-6” in the early spring to encourage and speed up new growth. Avoid drastically cutting back the plants to avoid wounding them.

Watch Out for Sharp-Edged Leaves

Still wanting to trim your grasses back in the fall and winter? Be warned – maintaining ornamental grasses can be both easy and treacherous. Many species have very sharp foliage, so we recommend wearing a pair of sturdy leather gloves when attempting to cut them back. If the grass mound is large and established, then bundle the stalks together before cutting them. You will need a hedge trimmer or even a chain saw depending on the size of the plant. Deposit the handy dandy bundle of debris in your compost pile.

Divide and Conquer Your Ornamental Grass

When your grass has outgrown its current home, then it is time to divide your plant. Prepare yourself, this can be a workout depending on the size of your plant. The best time to do this is when you’ve just cut the stalks back. It will allow access to the crown. Here are some tips for successfully dividing your grass:

  • Lift and separate – For large clumps take a small ax or a sharp shovel and partition the crown of the plant into sections. You may need a crow bar to pry apart the pieces you have cut. Leave roots on each of the pieces, but plant them before roots dry out.
  • Shape it up – If you just want to rein in a mound from getting too large, trim around the outside of the plant. You can insert a sharp spade or shovel along the edges and separate sections of the grass away from the parent plant. Be sure to cover up the exposed edges with fresh dirt and mulch.
  • When the center dies – Older plants tend to die off in the center. One method is to break up the entire mound and re-plant some of the divided sections back in the original spot. Another is to “core out” the center of the plant and allow the surrounding healthy growth to fill in the bald spot.

A Little TLC Goes a Long Way

Ornamental grasses can break up the monotony in any garden. Just remember when tackling your fall yard cleanup, a little TLC can go a long way in helping your plants stay healthy and ready to put on a show next spring. 

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your lawn and garden projects. From hedgers and chain saws to shovels and wheelbarrows, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clean Up Your Garden for Colder Months

clean up your garden in preparation for the colder months

While it may still feel like summer, fall is quickly approaching. Organizing your autumn garden to-do list now will help you plan for all the things you want to accomplish before Old Man Winter shows his frosty face. Focus on clean-up and cover-up when coming up with your projects.

Here are some suggestions for things to do:

  • Remove spent blooms and foliage – This will help prevent diseases and pests from overwintering in your garden. If you detect that a problem has already developed be sure to remove the affected debris from the area.
  • Dig up bulbs and tender plants – If they cannot survive the cold temperatures, dig them up and move them indoors. Let your bulbs dry out on newspaper for a couple of days before putting them in paper bags to store in a cool, dry area.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch – Your summer mulch has started to decompose. Add a fresh layer of mulch to your beds now to keep weeds at bay. Replenish with another layer before harsh weather sets in to give you a thick protective covering for plants and soil.
  • Rake up fallen leaves – Mulch the leaves with your lawn mower and spread them onto your beds or add the leaves to your compost pile.
  • Continue watering trees and shrubs – Keep giving them deep soakings until right before the first frost. They need to build up moisture for the long winter months.
  • Cut back perennials – Remove the dead portion of the plants to eliminate pests and mulch. Divide plants that have outgrown their spot in the garden.
  • Till up beds – If your plants are all done for the season, remove the plant debris and till up your beds. When your vegetable garden has finished producing, till the plants into the soil.
  • Add compost to beds – While tilling up your flower beds and garden, work some compost into the soil to help next spring.
  • Maintain compost pile – Make sure your bins are ready to withstand the winter weather and that your pile has been amended so it will continue to decompose. Cover the compost pile to keep it from getting too much rain and developing mold.
  • Cover future flower beds – If you have an area you want to plant in the spring, till it up now, add organic materials and cover it with either a thick layer of mulch or plastic to discourage emergent growth.
  • Hold off on trimming trees – Wait until your trees are dormant before you cut them back to avoid having any new growth appear before the first frost.

Clean Garden Tools

While you are in the cleaning mood, don’t forget to clean your gardening tools before you store them for the winter. After washing them with soap and water, you may want to wipe them lightly with vegetable oil or WD40 to help keep them from corroding. Nothing beats a shiny new spade to work with in the spring!

Be Ready for Old Man Winter

You’ll always be able to find a DIY project to do, which is why organizing your fall garden projects makes sense. It will help cut down on the workload in the spring. Be ready for Old Man Winter this year. Your garden will thank you for it.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your fall clean-up and maintenance projects. From rakes and shovels to wheel barrows and mulch, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. Check out our blog, Fall Checklist Part1- Garden Clean-up and Winterization for more helpful tips on getting ready for that lovely season we call winter.

Categories: DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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