How to Plant Landscape Grasses

Two Methods:Prepare the SoilPlant the Root Ball

Planting landscape (ornamental) grasses enhances the beauty of your flowerbeds and they are easy to maintain.

Method 1
Prepare the Soil

Your landscape plants will not require much maintenance once they are established, but it is important that you take care to plant them properly to give them a good start.

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    Dig and loosen the soil so that the depth is at least twice as deep as the root ball of your landscaping grass plant.
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    Add compost to the soil and work it in so that it is evenly distributed.
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    Dig a hole so that the root ball is a bit deeper than the pot it came in.

Method 2
Plant the Root Ball

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    Take your plant out of its pot.
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    Loosen the roots from the ball by tapping them gently with a small gardening tool or by gently tapping the root ball on the ground.
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    Fill the hole you have prepared with water and let the water drain. If you live in a very dry climate, refill the hole with water twice more, letting it drain completely each time.
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    Set the root ball in the hole.
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    Fill the hole with soil.
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    Tamp down the soil by pressing with your hands or your feet so that the root ball is firmly in place.
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    Water it one more time.


  • Prune back your grasses in early spring every year, as soon as the snow melts. Most grasses can be cut to within 6” of the ground, and some can be cut all the way to the ground. By mid-summer, they will have once again achieved their full height.
  • Plan to plant your grasses with early-blooming spring flowers, such as daffodils and tulips. When your flower blooms die back, the ornamental grasses will camouflage the dead flower foliage.
  • Plant your grasses in the spring.
  • Check your zone requirements to be sure your selections will tolerate the temperature extremes where you live. Most landscape grasses grow better when the temperature doesn’t go above 75°F (24°C).
  • Water your new grasses every day for several weeks after you plant them. Once they are established, they are usually drought resistant.
  • Group your plantings according to their season types; plant all of your cool season grasses together and all of your warm season grasses together.
  • Think about how much maintenance you have time for. Clump growing landscape grasses are quite easy to maintain, but grasses that spread, such as ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea) will require some diligence on your part so that they don’t take over your flower bed.
  • Use a general rule of planting your landscape grasses about as far apart as they will get tall. So if a grass will grow to a maximum height of 1 foot (0.3 m), plant the grasses 1 foot (0.3 m) apart.
  • Once your grasses attain their full height, you can prune back the tall ones with a powered hedge trimmer to save time.
  • Ornamental grasses begin their growth cycle in the spring, but stop growing during the high heat of summer. They will resume their growth cycle in the early fall.
  • You don’t need to fertilize your landscape grasses, they are quite hardy and don’t require special care, especially if you worked a good amount of compost into the soil before you planted them.


  • Don’t skimp on the soil preparation. Uncultivated soil can restrict growth.
  • Don’t wait until late spring to prune your new grasses, doing so could inhibit new growth.

Things You’ll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Spade
  • Compost material
  • Watering can
  • Pruners
  • Hedge trimmer (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care