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Dividing Bluestem

Posted by OldWriter z8 Central TX (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 9, 05 at 12:36

What is the best time(s) to divide and transplant native grasses: big and little bluestem, Indian grass, sideoates grama?

Does it matter that I am in central Texas?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Dividing Bluestem

  • Posted by Pam_AA z5 Berwyn Il. (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 9, 05 at 14:41

I think its kinda late now for dividing even for zone 8, early spring when they start growing again is your next bet. Good luck, they have one heck of a root system but it should be doable. You may need a saw. As in any transplant, DON'T let them dry out till reestablishment. Be patient they may take a while to get going, maybe as long a two years.

RE: Dividing Bluestem

I think if they are dormant now, you could divide them just fine.

I would divide in the late fall or early spring before they turn green.

You definitely will need a saw. I tried to dig some up and break them with a shovel and it was no going. I really didnt want to dull the saw blade on dirt and roots but I had no choice.

RE: Dividing Bluestem

I divided a small (1' across?) clump of little bluestem early last spring, on advice from this forum I think. I did it early while dormant, took as much root as I could get, dug a fairly deep hole, and really stomped on it. Worked like a charm. Where you are, keeping it moist is probably important too.

RE: Dividing Bluestem, more

Oh, I just used a spade (but it was a small bunch) and the transplant was full-sized first year.

RE: Dividing Bluestem


I am considering adding little bluestem and indian grass to my yard. From what I am hearing, once it is in, it is there to stay? Is it also going to reseed and take over the beds?


RE: Dividing Bluestem


I have a clump of little bluestem in my front yard. It's 3 years old, and I haven't noticed that it's seeded all over, nor has the clump spread. Same with Side Oats Grama. I have a clump of indian grass, too. I've heard it can be aggressive with spreading and seeding, but I haven't noticed it. I've heard the same about big bluestem, but I have that out back where it can spread out if it wants to. April

RE: Dividing Bluestem

Little bluestem is a long-lived perennial, so once established it should be part of your planting for a long while.

I think that your local soil and climate conditions go a long way toward determining whether these grasses will re-seed themselves or not. Little bluestem grows well enough for me but it doesn't self-seed in my garden, which is perhaps too poorly-drained for this species. Same goes for sideoats.

But indian grass is a bit too happy with conditions in my garden. I moved the large plants to a location where they would have more room, but seedlings keep popping up. Indian grass has a reputation of taking over larger-scale prairie plantings in this area as well. It's a beautiful plant, but a bit agressive.

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