Should You Plant Ornamental Grasses in the Fall?

Fall is a fantastic time to plant ornamental grasses With the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall, grasses planted in autumn will establish roots before winter dormancy sets in Come spring, they’ll be ready to thrive.

Why Fall is an Ideal Time to Plant Grasses

There are several key reasons why planting ornamental grasses in fall is beneficial:

  • Soil temperatures are still warm Grasses grow best when soils are between 60-75°F In most regions, soils retain summer warmth well into fall, allowing new root growth to continue.

  • More rainfall. Cooler fall temperatures mean less water is lost to evaporation. More water stays in the soil for new plants.

  • Less transplant stress. With cooler temperatures, grasses won’t dry out as quickly after transplanting. Less foliage dieback results.

  • Time to establish. Grasses planted in fall have the entire dormant season to grow roots before spring growth starts. This means they will be sturdier and better established next year.

  • Earlier spring green-up, Grasses planted in fall often green up earlier in spring, This gives you more time to enjoy them next growing season

  • Discounts. Nurseries are often eager to sell remaining inventory in fall and discounts may be offered on grasses. Take advantage of the deals!

When to Plant Grass in Fall

Aim to plant grasses 4-6 weeks before your average first frost date. This gives them a chance to root in before going dormant.

In zones 3-4, plant from late August through September. In warmer zones 5-7, October plantings are fine. Wait until November in zone 8-10.

Stop planting if soils freeze. Containerized grasses can be planted later into fall since their roots are insulated.

How to Plant Ornamental Grasses in Fall

Planting grass in fall is easy if you follow a few tips:

  • Prepare soil first. Eliminate weeds and mix in compost to improve drainage before planting.

  • Water thoroughly. Grasses need consistent moisture after transplanting. Water daily for 2-3 weeks.

  • Mulch around plants. Apply 2-3 inches of shredded bark, leaves or straw. This insulates roots from cold.

  • Cut back foliage. Trim long leaves by 1/3 to reduce transplant shock and water loss.

  • Stake if needed. Staking may be needed for tall or floppy grasses to prevent damage over winter.

Best Grasses to Plant in Fall

Nearly all ornamental grasses can be planted with success in the fall season. Some top choices include:

  • Switchgrass – A native prairie grass with handsome vertical form. Red fall color. Zones 4-9.

  • Maiden Grass – Very tall grass with showy plumes. Zones 4-9.

  • Fountain Grass – Mounded grass with graceful, arching leaves. Zones 7-10.

  • Moor Grass – Fine-textured, tufted grass for shade. Red fall tones. Zones 5-9.

  • Feather Reed Grass – Pretty grass with upright, slender leaves. Golden fall color. Zones 5-9.

Overseeding Lawns in Fall

Fall is also the perfect time to thicken up a thin, patchy lawn by overseeding. Cooler temperatures and increased moisture create ideal growing conditions for newly seeded grass.

For best results, mow existing lawn short, core aerate, rake to remove thatch, then broadcast seed in late summer/early fall. Water daily until new grass emerges. Fertilize 4-6 weeks after seeding when the new grass reaches 3 inches tall.

Enjoy Your Ornamental Grasses Next Season

By planting ornamental grasses this fall, you’ll reap rewards next growing season. Large, robust grasses will emerge in spring, providing texture, movement, and fall interest in your garden for years to come. Take advantage of the ideal planting conditions autumn provides!

Ornamental grasses you can plant in the fall | Natures Corner


Is it okay to plant ornamental grasses in the fall?

When to Plant Ornamental Grasses. To give them adequate time to establish good root systems before winter, the best time to plant ornamental grasses is in the spring or early fall. With their elegant plumes, quick-growing ornamental grasses can provide interest and color from summer through winter.

How late can you plant ornamental grasses?

When is the best time to plant? In mild climates, you can plant grasses year-round, whenever they’re available for sale. In zones where the ground freezes, spring and early fall offer ideal planting windows. Avoid planting within four weeks of the first fall frost.

Can I plant ornamental grass in November?

Planting Ornamental Grass can be accomplished in the spring or the fall (or really any time during the growing season as long as you can keep them well watered through the heat of summer).

Can you plant ornamental grass in August?

The best time to plant new ornamental grasses in your landscape is spring or early fall. Planting before the summer’s heat (and often dry weather) arrives should give them enough time to root in before having to endure more stressful conditions.

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