Hardpan soil and pampas

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by madhatter, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. madhatter

    madhatter Active Member

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    Hi there, I have bought some young pampas grass and would like to plant it, but my yard is hardpan. The soil is so hard that after the first 4" I have to get the pick out. (It is nothing for me to spend a few hours digging a hole for a tree or climbing rose).

    So the question is: if I want my pampas grass to do well and grow to it's potential size of about 10ft (I understand), how big should I dig the hole, width and diameter to ensure the roots will be able to support the pampas grass' huge size? Thanks in advance
    Steph

    P.S.
    Am I right to believe that hardpan soil is very restrictive and basically unpermeable to tender roots and therefore when I dig a hole it's like providing a pot for whatever I plant in it.
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Well, considering that I've seen pampas grasses here growing straight out of rock walls, I wouldn't think that your hardpan soils would deter them any once they get going. I'd start with a hole about 12" deep and about the same in diameter - this should give them a good start and once they get larger they will actually start to break the soil for you.

    A word of warning, though - although the seedheads are one of the main reasons to grow pampas grasses, they are considered invasive weeds in some parts of BC (check your local lists to see if they're a problem in your area) so it's advisable to clip them before they ripen. This, and once a year in the winter, carefully burn it to the ground. There is a big pampas grass thread kicking around in the grass forums somewhere, and it has a wealth of advice for care and cultivation.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    And I've seen them in wetlands with base of their crowns permanently underwater. Seems they can take just about anything!
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It is a very adaptable and difficult to discourage species, Michael, if our observations are anything to go on. I too have seen it growing in permanently inundated conditions, as well as in places that get less than 100 mm of rain a year, and punishing winds. It tends to be most common in the semideserts, though.
     
  5. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I think you must have the same soil as we do. Ours have rocks and boulders, ranging from inches to 2 feet in diameter embedded in it. If I can, I prefer to build up a bed and let earthworms slowly get to the hardpan part.

    I have had a relationship with a pampas grass for about 10 years. The lesson I have learnt is it was love for the first 6-7 years, and then I just could not wait to get rid of it after that. It was lovely while it lasted - graceful leaves, majestic blooms. Then, it turned into an ugly monster - the center rotted, it was starting to take the shape of a large ring of satellite plants, making the whole thing look unkempt.

    Oh, by the way, the Metro Vancouver by-law probihits open back fires.
     
  6. madhatter

    madhatter Active Member

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    Thanks for that. I should check to see what Abbotsford's law is about burning.
    Can you recommend another large, attractive evergreen grass?
    Regards, Steph.
     
  7. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I am not sure about pampas being evergreen. Our variety sure wasn't - because I get to cut back the tattered leaves in the spring. I can't think of any tall evergreen grasses, except for bamboos. But I love our Miscanthus sinensis Variegatus. We also have Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus, but Variegatus is more graceful.
     
  8. madhatter

    madhatter Active Member

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    Thanks, what Zone are you in? I am in Zone 8 in Abbotsford BC
     

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