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Too early to split purple fountain grass?

Posted by catankgirl 9 (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 21, 07 at 18:29

I bought and planted some purple fountain grass about 5 months ago and it has really grown since then. It was sold in a pretty small pot and now it's probably 5 feet tall. I'd like to dig it up and split it this fall if I can just so I can start getting two going instead of one. But it's not really showing signs of needing it, like no decreased vigor or anything, it just grew a bit faster than I expected. Do you think it would be harmful to go ahead and split it this fall, or should I wait until next year? I've never really dug up and split anything before.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Too early to split purple fountain grass?

Grasses prefer to be split in the spring.

RE: Too early to split purple fountain grass?

Hm, maybe it's a California thing, but the Sunset book I have said it's best to split them when they recommend planting them and it said fall for that. Probably because our winters are mild and rainy? I was thinking of waiting until spring until I read that too. Oh well, I guess it's pretty hardy and will probably survive whatever I do to it... hopefully... ;)

RE: Too early to split purple fountain grass? is more of a dormancy thing here...

They sleep pretty heavy over the winter and are in the process of storing food for the winter in the fall (best not to disturb this process).

When the new sprouts emerge in the spring is the best time to dig/divide/transplant in our area.

RE: Too early to split purple fountain grass?

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 23, 07 at 9:47

In general, grasses need to be divided near the beginning of their growing seasons. For warm season grasses, this is after winter, and when the soil starts to get into the 60-70 F range. This is true no matter where you live. Even California has periods of cooler weather and soil temperatures. Warm season grasses need a good bit of time to establish themselves before cooler weather forces them into dormancy.

Cool season grasses have (at least) two distinct growing seasons each year, and can be divided at the beginning of either, with no ill effects. In my coastal climate, I frequently have better luck dividing cool season grasses in the fall. They have a very long time to establish before having to deal with adverse weather. Spring divided grasses have only a couple of months before hot summer weather forces them into dormancy.

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