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Pampas grass is a perennial grass native to South America. It grows best in moist soil, but can tolerate dry conditions if maintained properly.
Pampas grass is not invasive and does not cause problems in its natural habitat. However, it can become invasive where it spreads rapidly or becomes established too quickly and causes damage to crops or homes. Pampas grass plants are most likely to invade areas near roadsides, farm fields, pastures and other open land. Pampas grass is considered an annual because it dies back each year after growing for several years. If left unchecked, it will eventually cover large areas of land.
When Should You Plant Pampas Grass?
Planting pampas grass in your yard or garden is usually recommended between April and June. It’s best to wait until the last possible moment before planting since the grass tends to die back during this time period. This helps eliminate the need for pampas grass plant maintenance during the hot summer months. The grass can grow up to 1 foot per day if planted during the summer, but the growth rate slows down to 3 to 4 inches per day during the spring or fall. Pampas grass grows best between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees at night, then it should be brought inside or protected from frost.
How Do You Transplant Pampas Grass?
Transplanting pampas grass is only necessary if you are moving the plant from one location to another. If you are simply dividing the plant, then separate the crowns and replant them. If transplanting the entire plant, dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the container it currently sits in. Carefully remove the pampas grass plant from its container and place it inside the hole. Fill in the hole around the base of the plant and lightly pack the soil around it. Water the pampas grass deeply after planting. Pampas grass can also be dug up and divided during the spring or fall to create new plants.
Does Pampas Grass Spread?
Pampas Grass does not spread or invade natural habitats. It can only survive in open, sunny areas that have been disturbed by soil movement such as from erosion or construction. Pampas grass can’t spread on its own, but it can displace native plants through competition if not kept under control. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on new plants and pull them out as soon as possible.
How Do You Get Rid of Pampas Grass?
Pampas grass can’t be pulled up like other weeds because the stems are very thick and stiff. It often requires using sharp tools to cut the plant at the base so it can be removed from the ground. It’s important to get all of the roots because even a small piece of root left in the ground will allow the plant to grow back.
How Do You Maintain Pampas Grass?
It isn’t necessary to maintain pampas grass, but there are a few things you can do to keep it looking its best. The first thing you can do is to divide the pampas grass every few years to encourage new growth and to prevent it from getting too crowded in the area where it’s planted. Pampas grass can also be cut down to a desired height before the growing season. This will cause it to branch out and fill in, creating a fuller look. It isn’t necessary to prune pampas grass, but it can help if you want to keep it under control.
Common Pampas Grass Problems
Pampas grass is susceptible to a few different pests and diseases. One of the most common lawn problems is the presence of caterpillars which usually show up in the early spring.
The caterpillars can be green, brown or black and will often cover the pampas grass plants when they hatch. They feed on the plant and can cause quite a bit of damage if not taken care of quickly. You can find out how to get rid of caterpillars here.
There are several different fungal diseases that affect pampas grass plants, including brown patch and dollar spot. Brown patch causes small brown or black spots to appear on the leaves, which then turn brown and die.
Dollar spot appears as a gray or black discoloration on the leaves and spreads like a virus, causing more patches to appear. It isn’t known exactly how these fungal diseases are spread, but they both thrive in high humidity and wet conditions. If you live in an area that is prone to fungal diseases or your soil stays damp for long periods of time, it is a good idea to apply a fungicide to the pampas grass every few weeks during peak growing season. This can help prevent the diseases from spreading.
Pampas grass can also be prone to insect pests such as grasshoppers, which show up in the summer months and can cause quite a bit of damage. Grasshoppers are most often found on the underside of the leaves where they feed and lay their eggs, causing the leaves to appear ragged.
You can read how to get rid of grasshoppers here.
Pampas grass is a beautiful ornamental plant that can be a great addition to any landscape, but it does require some maintenance to stay looking its best. By following the tips in this guide you should be able to keep your pampas grass healthy for many years.
If you’re still having problems with your plant after trying the above tips, feel free to contact us!
Other garden plants that are in the same family as Pampas Grass: Feather Reed Grass, Bristle Grass, Parrotfeather.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects of preemergence-applied herbicides on pampas grass grown in containers by JC Green, GJ Keever, CH Gilliam… – Journal of …, 1997 – meridian.allenpress.com
Movement of exotic plants into coastal native forests from gardens in northern New Zealand by JJ Sullivan, SM Timmins, PA Williams – New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 2005 – JSTOR
The role of successional stage, vegetation type and soil disturbance in the invasion of the alien grass Cortaderia selloana by R Domènech, M Vilà – Journal of Vegetation Science, 2006 – Wiley Online Library
Forage shrubs in North Island hill country 1. Forage production by MG Lambert, GA Jung, DA Costall – New Zealand journal of …, 1989 – Taylor & Francis
Invasive plants of horticultural origin by CE Bell, CA Wilen, AE Stanton – Hortscience, 2003 – journals.ashs.org