After several years, some ornamental grasses have a tendency to thin or die out in the middle or outgrow their space. When this begins to happen, it is best to split the grass into two or more clumps. The best time of the year to split grasses is early spring as growing conditions such as soil temperature, sunlight and precipitation are optimal for successful transplantation and regrowth.
Before you begin, think ahead to cleanup and transplant. Tie off the plant every eight to ten inches so the debris is easily gathered for disposal. Prepare the transplant sites by digging holes and adding appropriate soil amenities such as compost and fertilizer. Trim the grass to a height of four to five inches. Dig around the entire plant with a shovel and pry it out of the ground. Once you have the plant out of the ground, lay it on its side. Next, determine the number of clumps you need or want. Using a sharp shovel or hand saw, divide the plant into the desired amount of clumps. Replant one clump back in the original spot and plant the other clumps in the prepared locations, making sure the crown of the plants are at or slightly above ground level. Water in thoroughly and cover with about three inches of mulch.
If splitting produces more grass clumps than you need, share the plant with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. To maintain plant viability, the roots should be covered with soil and kept moist until replanted.
If you’re looking for another spring project, check out our May newsletter’s DIY section on planting spring bulbs. A small investment in time and bulbs now will yield beautiful benefits this summer.
Rachael and Tobias