Wednesday, March 4

Garden Pic Wednesday: Pampas Grass Tips

Last night at Bible Study the warm-up question was, "If you could have a theme song play every time you walked in a room, what would it be?"
I knew that was going to be the question, so I had time to think about it, since I'm not all that savvy on music. I can never remember what artist played what song and I'm relatively ignorant of anything current.  I'm more familiar with classics of the 60's & early 70's.
After pursuing a number of considerations via Youtube, I finally settled on the 1970 hit "Green-Eyed Lady," by Sugarloaf as my perfect theme song, since I do have green eyes. 
 It's more instrumental, heavy on the bass beat with a few stanza's of totally flower-child words.
If it doesn't ring a bell, you can hear the original album cut here via Youtube. Enjoy!

My project today was trimming down another Pampas Grass; the 2nd one of a pair I have in beds in front on my property border. 
Because of this location, I take particular care to trim back their outer growth all season, so they grow in their middles rather spreading outward. I wanted them for a natural privacy screen & was aware of their care issues when I bought them.
Pampas is a mainstay of Southern landscape, but when my friend Jacqui (pronounced Jackie), asked me whether she should consider some for their yard in Pensacola, I replied, "That depends on where you want to plant it. It can be major maintenance unless you have somewhere where it can grow carefree."

So today's Garden Pics are about Pampas Grass with planting & care tips from my experience with the stuff.

In It's Summer Glory, Pampas IS Pretty:
Below, a photo of my Pink Pampas. (I also have Silver.)
 In general, the grass gets 5-6 feet tall and the flower stalks 7 to 10 feet.  A desert plant, it doesn't mind drought and can make a great landscape plant in a low-maintenance bed of other drought tolerant grasses & flowers.

What Pampas Can Look Like If Left To Itself:
The next photo is a neighbors Pampas a couple houses down from me. Originally, years ago, it was a single small clump. Now it's spread outward to around 8 feet. It has never been trimmed. So, it looks messy with dread growth all the time. Luckily, it's also on the edge of their lot in a spot where it can be left to it's own inclinations.

Things to Consider If You Want To Plant Pampas Grass:
#1)  Location, location, location! 
* Never put it at the end of driveways. It will obscure vision of on-coming traffic eventually.
* Never plant it near side-walks or paths or anywhere with human traffic walking by: the grass blades are finely saw-toothed, very sharp and give lots of paper type cuts.
* It's best not to plant them near lawn sprinklers--this promotes aggressive growth!
* Do plant in full sun where you don't have to worry too much about how wide they grow.
* Before investing, ask yourself if you want to keep them neat-looking and are you willing to invest the work? (One could hire a lawn service to do this, too!)

My Pink Pampas Trimmed:
This next photo is the same Pink Pampas from the first photo as it looks now, trimmed back. Pampas generally die out in the middle and spread outward, but mine are solid clumps because I trim off the fresh outer growth around the edges all season, which forces it to re-grow at the center. (Though I only do that with pair on the property border; the other 3 are in carefree locations.)
I trim mine into a mound shape, because I'm doing it by hand with shears, but I see many Pampas in other yards that have had a chain-saw or maybe an power-hedger taken to them straight across a few inches above the ground.
 It is very dense & new growth spirals up from cut stems.
In the South, grasses are usually trimmed sometime between Jan & March.

Tip for Handling Pampas:
If you're going to handle or maintain your own Pampas Grass do wear protective clothing: long pants, long sleeves & gloves! 
That's it for today! Stop back for Mama Kat tomorrow!


Spazington said...

Green Eyed Lady- perfect choice Bev! And I think I'm a "no" on the pampas grass because of the time and effort you described- but they do look lovely if properly cared for!

kelley jensen said...

we have some pampas grass growing between our yard and a city alley. It forms enough of a border that it keeps the neighbors from driving on our lawn. I think it is quite pretty. Mr. J trims it down every fall.

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