Updated at: 09-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Depending on the type of grass, the optimal time of year to split and transplant it is different. Plants with narrow leaves that can be utilized for landscaping or as grass lawn substitutes are known as “ornamental grass.”

Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’), which is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 9, can be split and transplanted in spring or fall in order to decrease congestion or to grow new plants. Whether you’re dealing with a cool-season or warm-season kind of grass dictates when you should split or divide it.

Cool-Season vs. Warm-Season Grass

The growth patterns of your ornamental grass might help you determine if it is a cool-season or warm-season species. Cool-season grasses begin their growth early in spring. You might notice that they grow better when temperatures are cool, and they sometimes remain partially green even during winter. During hot drought periods, these grasses go dormant and turn brown without adequate water from supplemental irrigation.

How to Transplant Ornamental Grass: A Beginner's Guide - Krostrade

Warm-Season Grass Division

There are a few ways to tell if a piece of ornamental grass is a cool or warm-season variety by looking at its growth pattern. Cool-season grasses begin to develop in the spring months. If you look closely, you’ll see that they grow better in cooler weather and that they can even remain partially green in the winter. Because of the lack of water, these grasses go dormant and brown during hot drought periods of time.

Division and Replanting Techniques

Watering the soil of the ornamental grass thoroughly about an hour before dividing the plant softens the earth whether division occurs in the early spring or early fall. A 6-inch cut to the plant’s leaves is sufficient. Remove the grass clump from the earth by digging around it with a sharp spade. Using a spade, a sharp garden knife, or a small axe, cut the clump into two or more pieces.

Planting one component in the original hole and other pieces elsewhere is an option here as well. There should be a similar depth of soil to which the plants have grown before. Fill the rest of the planting hole with soil and compact the earth around the plants to provide a strong root system.

Ornamental Grass Division Considerations

It is recommended to divide many large ornamental grasses every three or four years. For many years, the middle half of the cluster has not been separated. This indicates that it has died. If that’s the case, dig up the entire clump, but take divisions from the healthy root areas, discarding the dead middle section.

Every three or four years, it’s a good idea to divide large ornamental grasses. For many years, the middle portion of the clump may have been dead. As a result, dig up the entire clump and remove the healthy root sections, removing and discarding the middle piece of the clump.

Warm-Season Grasses

If you live in a warm-season climate, you’ll find grasses that bloom in late summer or early fall. These varieties typically begin a dormant phase in the fall, turning brown after the soil temperatures drop to about 55 degrees. You should divide these warm-season grasses in spring when they break dormancy and begin their growing season. These budding green shoots are a sign that spring is on its way.

Cool-Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses are those that bloom in the middle of summer or early fall, depending on your local climate. Soil temperatures of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit mark the beginning of this species’ dormant season, which lasts through the winter. As soon as they emerge from hibernation and begin their growing season in the spring, divide these warm-season grasses. Small, new green shoots will appear as a sign that this has occurred.

How to Divide and Transplant Small Grasses

When you follow these rules, creeping grasses and smaller clumping grasses will multiply rapidly:

  1. To ensure that the plants are able to produce as much as possible, you should water them thoroughly.
  2. With a shovel or pitchfork, remove the plant’s entire root system.
  3. The loose soil around the plant’s root ball can be removed by hosing it off or shaking the plant.
  4. Damaged leaves and roots should be removed.
  5. It’s up to you how many divisions of the root ball and foliage you wish to make, depending on the size of the root ball itself.
  6. When planting grass in a new hole or container, spread the roots out as far as possible and gently press down on the earth to hold the plant in place. Ensure that the soil remains at the same depth as when the plant was first planted.
  7. Until the roots of new divisions have established themselves, water them thoroughly until the water drains out of the drainage hole in container plants.


Because certain grasses have very sharp edges, it’s best to wear gloves.

How To Grow Ornamental Grasses - BBC Gardeners World Magazine

How to Divide and Transplant Large Grasses

It requires more work to separate huge grass clumps than smaller ones:

  1. When watering, make sure it reaches down into its root ball and doesn’t dry out.
  2. If you can’t see the roots or dig up the clump, cut down the grass’s leaves.
  3. If feasible, remove the entire root ball. If not, use two pitchforks or shovels back-to-back to split apart the root ball before lifting it out of the earth. Alternatively, dig a hole in the earth and use a saw to cut the root ball into pieces.
  4. Using a hose, wash away the extra soil from the root ball and expose the plant’s roots
  5. Using a saw or a sharp spade, cut the plant into sections and eliminate the older and less robust sections around the center.
  6. Remove any roots that are damaged or excessively lengthy.
  7. By spreading roots out, patting the dirt gently around the crown of the plant, and properly watering the divisions, you can transplant them like you would lesser grasses.


Pruning and division tools should be sterilised and cleaned with either rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes after each use in order to reduce the spread of disease and pests from one plant to another.

Transplanting and Dividing Ornamental Grass

Dividing and transplanting grasses is an option if you’re short on cash yet want a lush lawn. Most ornamental grasses are easy to cultivate and do so quickly. When it comes to properly propagating ornamental grasses, a little amount of preparation is all that is required.

Here’s how to go about it, step by step:

Step 1. Initial Considerations

Both warm-season and cold-season ornamental grasses are available. Grasses that are cold-season ornamentals, such as feather reed grass, are best transplanted in the early spring. However, a warm-season plant like the large blue stem should be transplanted early in the spring.

Step 2. Preparation

Preparation is frequently overlooked by gardeners, and this is a costly blunder. In order to make the dirt easier to dig through, the first thing to do is to moisten it. Make sure the planting holes are big enough to accommodate your root balls and that the soil is well-prepared.

Step 3. Cut the Grasses Back

Before dividing, you must remove all of the grasses from the area. If you haven’t already done so, cut back your ornamental glasses before separating them. This will make the transplanting process much easier. A decent rule of thumb is to begin pruning back any top growth that is 2 to 3 inches above the soil surface..

Step 4. Dig up the Root Ball

Using a shovel, work around the edges of the grass you want to transplant and lift it out. If the root ball is bigger, you may have to do this in sections. Don’t worry about splitting the roots of the root ball; this will happen anyway when you start dividing.

Grass can be transplanted by working around the edges with a spade and then lifting it out. If the root ball is bigger, you may have to do this in sections. Do not worry about splitting the root ball; this will happen as soon as you begin dividing.

Step 5. Split the Root Ball and Transplant

Work around the margins of the grass you wish to transplant with a shovel before lifting it out. If the root ball is bigger, you may have to perform this in stages. Don’t worry about separating the roots of the root ball; this will happen when you start dividing.

You may lift out the grass by working around the edges of it with a shovel. If the root ball is particularly large, you may need to perform this procedure in segments. Don’t worry about breaking the roots of the root ball; this will happen as soon as you start dividing.

Growing Plants Inside the Greenhouse

Even if you’re hoping to raise ornamental grasses that thrive in warmer climates, one of the best ways to accomplish so is by growing and propagating them in a greenhouse. In this regard, there are four factors to consider:

You can control the climate

You can regulate the temperature of the internal environment if you have a greenhouse. This means that you can grow whatever kind of plant you choose in the greenhouse, even if they are native to a different season. Having more control over the environment will allow you to lengthen the growing season of grasses.

Prevents pest infestations

You can safeguard your plants from pests and rodents by putting them inside a greenhouse. These animals can eat the roots of your decorative grasses if you don’t keep an eye on them. This is something you can prevent if you take cover in the greenhouse.

Weather protection

Another advantage of having a greenhouse is that you can shield your plants from the elements. If it’s hot outside, move your plants into a greenhouse where you can control the temperature. Likewise, if it’s freezing outside, use the greenhouse to provide heat for your plants. Floods and high winds, on the other hand, can harm your plants, and keeping them inside the greenhouse, where they are sheltered, is one method to secure their life.

Keeping Ornamental Grasses Happy | Better Homes & Gardens

Enjoy fresh harvests all year long

With your greenhouse, you can produce more than just flowers and grasses. You may also cultivate vegetables and fruits there. It is possible to cultivate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse and enjoy them throughout the year. Cold-season veggies, such as spinach and cauliflower, can be enjoyed all year round. Warm-season vegetables like beans and cucumbers can be enjoyed all year round. They can pick it whenever they want from their greenhouse if that is the case.

Final Words on How to Transplant Ornamental Grass

Transplanting ornamental grasses is one of the most cost-effective ways to enhance your outdoor space’s appearance. Warm-season and cold-season ornamental grasses can all be divided, transferred, and propagated with the proper understanding. You won’t even notice that your yard is now overflowing with decorative grasses before you realize it.