Not your typical grass clippings

Last fall we planted this fountain grass on the left side of our front yard. We had gotten it pretty cheaply on clearance, and decided it was worth the risk. Risk, you say? What risk is there in grass? None inherently…but I don’t exactly have a green thumb, so a new plant coming home with me is always a risk.

They were pretty small to start, and since we planted them in the fall (not a growth season), they really didn’t change at all since we planted them. We’re hopeful that this spring they’ll come back even bigger and start to camouflage part of that ugly chain link fence.

A lot of people in our area have fountain grass. Since we’re far from expert gardeners, we make a lot of our plant purchasing decisions simply based on what plants we see most in our area (like this fountain grass, crepe myrtles, azaleas, etc). Here’s a picture of our neighbor’s fountain grass across the street from last fall.

They look so fluffy I just want to hug them! Sad that grass is never quite as soft as it looks…

I think his is a different variety from ours. Ours is called Gold Breeze Miscanthus and the blades are variegated in color. Long before we’d thought of getting fountain grass, we noticed that every year in the winter, people chop off their grass to look like this:

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Just like the grass in our yard, the plant goes dormant in the winter and the top part of the grass dies. Then the next year it all grows back. I was a little nervous to try this until I went out to look at our grass and confirmed that it is, indeed, quite dead.

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If we didn’t cut it off now, then all those dead blades of grass would just be mixed in with the new growth (*fingers crossed*) in the spring.

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So we got the scissors chopped. Everything we read said to cut the clump of grass straight across about 4 to 6 inches up from the ground. If you have bigger fountain grass, like our neighbors, it’s recommended that you tied a few strings around the clump of grass before cutting to make cleanup easier. Our clumps fit in our hands…cause they’re pathetically small. Can you tell we like planting things in the off-season? So much cheaper that way!

After cutting them you can hardly even tell where they are! (There are 3, btw).

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Like I said, we bought these on clearance, so it’s no great loss if they actually died this winter and don’t come back or if they never get as big as we want, but of course we’re hopeful. It just feels so weird to completely chop off a plant instead of only pruning off dead pieces and carefully shaping it (as we’re so used to doing with our crepe myrtles and other bushes.)

Also, according to the plant tags these “bloom” in the summer or fall. It said summer in one spot, but fall in another. (Well which is it? Get your act together, plant tag people!!) We have yet to see when they bloom (if they do) and what that looks like. I’m guessing the blooms are those fluffy plumes like on our neighbor’s. Fortunately, spring comes early in Arkansas so I’m sure I’ll have updates about my grassy little friends before too long. That also means crepe myrtle pruning is just around the corner! Is it lame that I actually get really excited about it? Rhetorical question, just fyi.

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