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How to remove hardy pampas grass?

Pampas inflorescences can be white or pink.

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Surely the big daddy of ornamental grasses, pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) makes a statement wherever it resides. Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7b through 10, pampas grass forms a thick clump 6 to 10 feet wide. When flowering, its inflorescences -- or flowers -- can reach 10 feet tall. A common mistake gardeners make is to not give pampas grass enough space. If your specimen outgrows its space, you'll have to transplant it to a more suitable location. Do this job in early spring, before new growth appears.

Water the clump thoroughly with an inch or two of water to hydrate the roots on the day before you plan to transplant. This helps keep the roots from drying out after they are lifted from the ground and makes the soil easier to work.

Cut dried blades and stalks down to 12 inches with handheld or powered hedge clippers. A string trimmer also will work.

Cut a circle around the plant the full depth of the shovel blade. Divide the clump into more manageable sections, if needed, by cutting it into quarters with the shovel.

Remove each section by digging under it and rocking it with the shovel. Move around the section with the shovel until the pampas grass loosens and can be pried out of the ground. Each section is now a new clump you can transplant or give to a friend.

Dig a new home in a sunny, well-drained location for each new clump. The hole should be as deep as and 1 1/2 times as wide as the clump. Amend some of the soil with one-third garden compost or composted manure.

Place each section in its hole and wiggle it so it makes good contact with the soil. Backfill with the improved soil, tamping it gently with your shoe. Make sure the clumps are at the same level they were in the old location.

Thoroughly water the newly planted clump and the soil around it. This settles the soil around the plant and re-hydrates the roots.

Cover the soil around the plant with an inch or two of mulch, such as shredded bark, to conserve moisture.


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