Planting ornamental grasses in Seattle area

Landscaping with grass doesn't mean more mowing. Ornamental grasses offer an array of beautiful colors, texture, sizes and very little maintenance.

There are so many benefits to planting ornamental grasses in a landscape, especially for those of us in the Seattle area. Ornamental grasses add a unique texture and array of colors that no other type of foliage can offer. They are also extremely easy to maintain. When planted in the right location, this plant selection will add just the dimension your landscape needs.

Here inSeattle, ornamental grasses can be planted in the spring or fall. Generally, the spring is more ideal; however, since our Seattle winters are generally mild, planting can be safely done in the fall as well. Just make sure you add a little compost to the soil and water regularly for the first few months to help the grass develops a good root system.

There are two main varieties -- cool season and warm season. Each one differs slightly and grows best based on the climate. Fortunately, we can grow both varieties in the Seattle area. Some of these grow in nice round clumps and others tend to spread. One of the benefits of ornamental grasses is that they come in various sizes, which makes them a landscaper's friend. But with all these varieties it can be a little challenging to know which grass to plant where. We at Environmental Construction can help you choose the right ornamental grasses for your landscape.

Where to Plant an Ornamental Grass

For best appearance and function, it is important to plant an ornamental grass in the right location. Small grass varieties look best at the edge of walkways, patios, or at the base of a wall. As if painting a flower garden, plant small ornamental grasses intermittently amongst a variety other types of plants of different sizes, colors, and textures.

Large grass varieties, on the other hand, are best planted in areas away from foot traffic, where they can spread out and fill a large area. They look best in a far corner of the yard, against a fence, or as a backdrop to other smaller landscape features.

Maintenance of Ornamental Grasses

Don't worry...ornamental grasses require very little time and energy. Most are also happy enough with the amount of rain we receive and require very little watering after their initial planting.

It is best to leave the ornamental grasses alone and refrain from pruning in the fall. This will provide extra protection for the crown of the plant from those occasionally freezing nights. In the early spring, cut the grass back to about 4 to 6 inches.

Ornamental grasses offer a texture and color selection you can't get from many flowers and a plant-it-and-forget-about-it-until-spring kind of ease. What's not to love? Every landscape should have at least one variety of ornamental grass.

Category: Northwest Gardening

Environmental Construction, Inc.

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