How To Stop Ornamental Grass From Spreading

It would be best if you mastered how to stop ornamental grass from spreading using three methods to ensure a neat-looking area and keep everything from becoming an eyesore. More so, you can take this opportunity to propagate your favorite ornamental grasses. The three practices are straightforward and easy to do, so continue reading for more tips. 

Ornamental grasses are so-called because they can enhance the overall look of an area. However, gardeners make the mistake of letting them overgrow and take over a place, which opposes the idea. You must always take control of these plants and do the necessary practices to keep them from spreading. 

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Guide For Stopping Ornamental Grass From Spreading

The three methods below will help you prevent ornamental grasses from spreading and overtaking an area. However, this article will also discuss how to manage running and clumping grasses and cool season and warm season grasses. It would benefit you to know what grasses you have and apply the recommended method to stop them from spreading. 


Method #1. Digging

The first method you can do to keep ornamental grasses from spreading is the most popular, digging. More than maintenance, this also serves as a propagation technique to create more grasses for transplanting. This way, you can replant them in another area and keep the previous location neat. 

You start digging your ornamental grass by digging around the perimeter of the crown. Use the pointed end of the shovel and remove as much as needed. You can do this practice for up to three years or opt to dig up the entire clump instead. 

Using the shovel, slice the crown to create sections for replanting since ornamental grasses have vigorous root systems ideal for such practice. This would be excellent for large grass clumps, and you might produce several sections. However, it’s common to need an ax to divide some grasses, especially larger species. 


Method #2. Trimming

The second method that you can consider to keep ornamental grasses from spreading is by merely trimming them. This is a useful technique to apply for grasses that are still quite manageable and have not overgrown the area that much. Remember that trimming is not a permanent solution, and it might be laborious, especially during the active growing season. 

However, some gardeners opt to use this method for their grasses that are slow to spread. When trimming ornamental grasses, use sharp and sterile shears to ensure a clean cut. You don’t want to damage the leaves nor spread diseases among your plants. 


Method #3. Transplanting

The final method for stopping ornamental grasses from spreading is transplanting them. This is related to the first method discussed after you have dug out your grasses. However, some gardeners transplant their grasses, not for propagation.

The idea of transplanting ornamental grasses is slowing their growth and adding some value to the landscape. For example, take advantage of your ornamental grasses that thrive amidst poor conditions. Some might grow slowly, but they will still survive in the area and enhance the look of where you replanted them. 


How To Keep Running Grasses From Spreading

If you have running ornamental grasses, you can also manage them by confining their root systems. Experienced gardeners usually use pots for this and then keep an inch of the rim above the ground. However, you still need to divide the grass in the container after some years as they break the container once overgrown. 

Another way to confine running grasses is by using an air moat. This can require some labor because you need to dig a trench. Afterward, you’ll need to maintain the edge of the moat by mowing to keep the grasses from crossing it. 


How To Keep Clumping Grasses From Spreading

Clumping grasses can still spread like their running counterparts. You can keep them well-managed by dividing the clumps once they form new shoots. Lift the clump from the ground and divide it into sections for replanting. 

You can also slow down the growth of your grasses by using less water and fertilizer. Only provide them when absolutely necessary. However, be mindful of your grasses’ health when it comes to lessening these factors. 


Maintaining Cool And Warm Season Grasses

To keep cool season grasses healthy, they require division or digging and transplanting. Otherwise, you can expect them to have a dead center and look unkempt. Some cool season grasses don’t get damaged completely, so it’s possible to remove the brown parts in spring. 

On the other hand, warm season grasses don’t require division as frequently. Instead, the maintenance practice that you can do for them is cutting back in spring. This will allow you to keep them healthy and tidy by removing parts that have turned brown in the fall. 



Ornamental grasses grow easily and quickly that without maintenance they can overgrow in an area. Therefore, you must know how to stop ornamental grass from spreading to keep the area neat and healthy. You can choose to dig around the crown or transplant grasses, but sometimes, trimming is sufficient to keep the grasses controlled. 

Regardless, it’s best to know the growing habits and requirements of the ornamental grasses you’re growing. Always be on the lookout for maintaining them to keep them from outgrowing the space. And lastly, plan your landscape to ensure that the plants have enough room or consider growing some in the greenhouse to ensure that they’ll meet their needs. 


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