Trimming/dividing ornamental grasses

Hi friends -- Last year I planted my first two ornamental grass plants ever in a border bed in my back yard, and I guess because of all the rain we've gotten this year, they have grown much wider in circumfrence than I anticipated.. The two of them together are really too wide for the bed they're in, so I'd like to decrease their size around the middle. What would be the best way to accomplish this? Should I divide them in halves and transplant the other halves elsewhere in my yard? If so, when would be the best time? I'm in the Washington DC metro area, zone 7; the seed tops have begun to separe, but as far as I can tell they haven't released any seeds yet. My soil is heavily clay, but I've amended all of my beds so everything I've planted has done very well with the exception of a couple of dwarf euonymous bushes. The grasses currently get full sun exposure for most of the day from late spring to early fall; I have two other beds in on my property to which I could move some of the divisions. One is up against the house (light colored vinyl siding) and gets full sun most of the day, and the other gets full sun in the morning and filtered sunlight in the afternoon. Any suggestions for me as to how to trim/divide/transplant/whatever these grasses? Thank so much!
Rhonda Alexandria, VA Zone 7
===================== Better a bleeding heart than no heart at all.
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What kind of grasses are they? I know ornamental, but which ones will determine how or what to do.
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This is a list of grasses which they can be. I recommend you do a search on the cultivation of those grasses once you find out what you have. Some ornamental grasses are very invasive and spread by runners. Some are clumping grasses which max out in size, but can still get very large. I have a Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinas' which is 8 feet tall. Here are some things for you to search for photos and see if you can identify them.
Miscanthus sinensis Pennisetum setaceum Seloana cortaderia
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Okay, Miscanthus is a clumping grass. The base can range in size two feet, to 5 feet in diameter. The upper spray of foliage much larger. My advice is to leave them in place over winter. Do not cut anything off and just enjoy the winter interest of the pale, tan grass plumes. In early spring you will notice signs of life emerging. At that time, you can cut the whole plant to about a foot tall. Take a good, strong garden fork and pry the whole plant up. With a very sharp knife, cut out sections and pot them into containers or plant them elsewhere, but in a small area, you may not be able to have two plants of this size. You can give some away, or put them on the compost pile. Either way, you can do this work in the spring.
Another tip on growing ornamental grass is to do what called "combing" the center. Every few years I have to go in and comb out the center of my ornamental grasses. In the center there may be some rotting stems or the stems may be so bunched together it can prevent any new foliage emerging. I especially do this on plants known as sedge, but are also referred to as grasses. Cutting those to the ground is almost like killing the plant! They should ONLY be combed and not cut back.
Anyway, I may be confusing you.
Check here for info.
http://www.suite101.com/articles.cfm/ornamental
When you search, enter "ornamental grass cultivation"and you will find a lot of information.
Victoria
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Thanks! I appreciate the info. :-)
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Cut them back in early spring , pry them from the ground. and hack them into divisions. They don't do as well where it snows divided in the fall.
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I'm in zone 7, the Washington DC area. We don't get all that much snow, but it does snow usually a couple of times during the winter, just not all winter long, and we rarely have snow on the ground for an extended period of time. What do you think?
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If they stayed green all winter then go for it.
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Hmmm...nope, they definitely turn straw-colored all the way nearly to the base. I guess I'll wait til spring. Thanks again!
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