Updated at: 22-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

There has been a surge in the popularity of ornamental grasses in recent years. Grass ornaments can be used in a wide variety of landscape designs. An ornamental grass provides height, movement, and color throughout the year in a landscape. Ornamental grasses have become increasingly popular, raising a slew of concerns about their proper maintenance. Inquiries like these come in all the time:

  • Do you know when to plant ornamental grasses?
  • Is it necessary to cut my grass, and if so, at what time of year?
  • To divide my beautiful grass, how and when should I do so?

A few general guidelines for planting, trimming, and dividing ornamental grasses will be provided here.

How to Divide Ornamental Grasses - YouTube

Warm-season and evergreen plants are the most common types of grass. If you have a different type of grass, the regulations are a little bit different.

  • In the spring, before temperatures rise over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the fall, when the weather cools, cool-season grasses put on the bulk of their growth. Summer is an excellent time for them to keep their color, but they won’t grow much if it’s too hot.
  • Early spring or early summer are the earliest growth times for warm-season grasses. When it’s hot outside, they put on a lot of growth and bloom. For the winter, they’ll turn a darker shade of brown.
  • It is common for evergreen grasses to seem like grasses, yet they are not truly classed as grasses. Sedges and carex are grass-like plants, although they are not grasses in the true sense of the word.

When to divide grasses

  • It is the end of winter or the beginning of the spring that is the optimal time to divide cool climate grasses.
  • If you’re planting warm-climate grasses, don’t divide them until late spring because they don’t grow till then (May).

How to divide grasses

  • A spade can be used to remove grass from the ground.
  • Use two forks put back-to-back in the center of the cluster to split them apart, and then pry them away with your fingers. Alternatively, use a shovel to cut the clump in half.
  • To separate the roots of some grasses, you may need a sharp knife, saw, or axe.
  • By ripping the lifted clumps apart with one’s hands, small grasses, such as Hakonechloa, can be divided.
  • Before separating Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass), make sure you use gauntlet-style gloves and sturdy apparel.
  • The larger the divisions, the better.
  • If the divisions are smaller than 12.5cm (5in) in diameter, they can be re-planted in the garden in John Innes No 2 compost.


The flowers of some attractive grasses may not appear at all. There may be a congested cluster, but the most likely answer is that there isn’t enough light. To improve light, try moving the plant to a more sunny spot or trimming back overhanging foliage.

For the most part, ornamental grasses do not have to worry about pests or illnesses. If the leaves are regularly divided, they are less prone to be infected by rust, which can be a problem on occasion.

When to Divide Ornamental Grasses

Grow ornamental grasses from divisions if you have huge areas that would benefit from their presence or walkways and paths that would be more visually appealing if they were lined with these plants. From a little seed, most attractive grasses grow swiftly and effortlessly.

When an ornamental grass has a hollow center, it suggests that it should be divided. In most cases, a new division should be considered every two to three years. Early spring is the greatest time to divide ornamental grasses because they haven’t started growing yet.

If you want to increase your yield, divide even the smallest of plants. As long as the roots are present, a beautiful clump should form by the end of the growing season.

How to Divide Ornamental Grass

An ornamental grass division can be learned easily. A square-tipped spade or shovel is the finest tool for removing large clumps off the sides of a rising mound.

Keeping Ornamental Grasses Happy | Better Homes & Gardens

You can split the plant in half and replant it, or you can dig the whole thing up. Even if you haven’t divided in years and years, it’s okay to do so now. Consider asking a friend or neighbor who has vast patches of grass if you can help them out with seedlings.

Buy little plants with a growth time before division at a garden center, or else. Buying multiples of monstrous grasses like mondo, monkey, or pampas and maiden can be pricey, so it’s a good idea to divide them up.

Generally speaking, these plants thrive in full sun, but it’s important to examine the type you have. Some ornamental grasses require partial shade or dappled sunlight for their best growth conditions.


Native prairie and woodland species are often used as inspiration for decorative grasses. Plants around them and their decomposing foliage provide the sole nutrition they need in their native habitat. Mulch shredded leaves around the base of your grasses in the fall to mimic these circumstances. Grass does not require or want any additional fertilizer, and feeding them often results in their stretching and flopping over.


It all depends on the grass. Drought tolerance can only be determined by first determining what sort of grass is being grown.

  • Native prairie grasses such as Panicum and Schizachyrium are extremely drought tolerant and may thrive without much additional water in most situations.
  • Pennisetum, both annual and perennial, is not drought resistant. They don’t like it when the soil dries out, but they also don’t like it when the soil is damp from rain. Aim for a moisture balance that is neither too wet nor too dry. The tips of the leaves will turn brown if the soil is too dry. It will be less noticeable on green-leaved kinds, but it will be obvious on those with dark purple or crimson leaves.
  • Cyperus and Scirpus, two grass-like plants, are water-loving and may even thrive in standing water. If watered frequently, they’ll put on a good show, but they can withstand medium moisture in garden beds and containers.

When To Split

The best time to divide ornamental grasses is in late winter or early spring.

They can be safely divided as soon as the earth is warm enough to work with.

Dig and divide plants while they are dormant or in the early stages of spring growth to ensure success.

This gives plants plenty of time to establish themselves before the sweltering summer heat sets in.

Dividing Ornamental Grasses – Easy Steps to Success

Cutting Back

If you haven’t done so before, start by removing the top 2 to 3 inches of growth off your grasses.

Hedge trimmers and chainsaws may be more convenient for cutting taller grasses than shears.

Root Ball

Work the shovel around the root ball’s edges to lift the entire ball of grass.

Digging out the root ball in pieces may be necessary for larger or older plants.

In order to divide the plant, it is inevitable that you will have to cut the roots in half.

When dormant, ornamental grasses are particularly resistant to this process.

Splitting The Root Ball

Flipping the plant over and dividing from the root ball’s rear side is the quickest and easiest method. To cut fresh plant pieces from the root ball, use a sharp shovel or axe.

Slice off portions of the plant as you work your way around the periphery to generate new plants. In the first year, it is recommended that the sections be at least 3 inches in diameter.

It will take a few years for smaller plants to mature, whereas larger areas may become overgrown in the landscape too rapidly.

When transplanting new plants, just select the outer edge of the original root ball, avoiding the old growing area in the center.

Compost can be made from this “dead” section of the plant by slicing it into smaller pieces.


The planting technique is one of the simplest elements of dividing ornamental grass.

Dig a hole that is two times the transplant’s diameter. When planting, add a little amount of compost to the planting hole, follow with water, and then add a layer of soil over top to keep the crown of the plant just below ground level.

New growth will begin to emerge from the crown as soon as the temperatures warm up in the late spring.

You’ll soon have a garden overflowing with free plants. It’s actually that simple to divide ornamental grasses!

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How To Separate Ornamental Grasses Successfully

Identification of the plant species is the key to separate ornamental grasses. Small and large ornamental grasses, as well as warm- and cool-season grasses, must be distinguished during the process. Also, be sure to double-check the species you’re working with, since some may have unique separation requirements.

Step #1. Removal

Removal is the same for both small and large ornamental grasses. You’ll find it easier to lift the grasses with a shovel or spade if you water them thoroughly. Although some grasses can be removed and separated more easily than others, here are some more tips.

Small ornamental grasses

Digging up the plant with a shovel should be simple after watering the grasses. Remove any damaged leaves or roots from the plant by hosing the loose soil around the roots.

How to Divide Ornamental Grasses

Large ornamental grasses

Before digging up the cluster of large decorative grasses, you’ll need to trim them back. You’ll be able to see the roots and dig up the grass more easily if you do so in this manner. The root ball can be totally dug up, but if you like, you can divide it in half with a shovel first.

Spray each portion with a garden hose to remove any remaining soil and debris.

Step #2. Dividing

Larger ornamental grasses can be divided without pulling the rootball from the ground, as previously discussed. When separating ornamental grasses, both species of grass can benefit from some of the following strategies to make it a little easier.

Small ornamental grasses

Depending on how big the plant is, you can separate the rootball into portions with your hands and get as many divisions as you need. When planting a division, make sure that the plant is erect and has roots that may spread out. After a few weeks, water the new plants and keep them moist so they can get established.

Large ornamental grasses

With large ornamental grasses, you can either cut the root ball in half while it is still in the ground, or after it has been lifted, whichever is more comfortable for you. Larger grasses, in contrast to lesser ones, may necessitate the use of an ax for separation. Sections near to the center must be discarded since they may be too old and weak to be transplanted.

As with little ornamental grasses, you must remove lengthy roots and broken ones before transplanting. No matter what kind of grass you have, you should have no trouble establishing it in the greenhouse. Because it provides a steady climate for young plants, a greenhouse is ideal for propagation.

When to separate ornamental grasses

When it comes to successfully separating ornamental grasses, time is everything. Warm-season and cool-season grasses can be distinguished once again, but this time the two types can be distinguished. Having an idea of when they are actively growing makes it much easier to separate them.

Warm-season grasses

As soon as the growth season begins, you must divide warm-season grasses since they are no longer dormant. In the fall, warm-season grasses are dormant, and the new growth season begins when they sprout new shoots from the ground. If your grass blooms in the middle of summer or early fall, you’ve got a warm-season grass.

Cool-season grasses

In fact, the greatest period to divide cool-season ornamental grasses is from late winter to early spring, when they are just starting to grow aggressively and should be separated. However, keep in mind that the prescribed times may differ depending on when your grass grows. Keep in mind that cool-season grasses produce new growth in the fall and winter and go dormant when the temperature rises above 75°F.


Ornamental grasses will benefit from dividing here and there. Learning how to separate ornamental grasses is not only important for propagating new plants, but it also keeps them healthy and your garden looking neat. The process itself is as simple as removal and dividing and also identifying when to separate grasses.

Dividing and transplanting ornamental grasses can be beneficial. When it comes to propagating new plants and keeping your garden tidy, learning how to separate attractive grasses is essential. Removal and division are all that is required, as well as determining when to separate grasses.