Pampas Grass

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by danggophers, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. danggophers

    danggophers Member

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    My pampas grass I bought 3 years ago has died out in the middle of the plant leaving just a outside ring of grass. I've heard this happens. Why does it do this and can it be avoided?
    thankyou
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  2. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    That's just the way pampas grows naturally. As the clump grows, the center stems die off. Some people say that the stems in the center only survive one season. But this may not be true all the time - it may depend on the climate and the variety. The large clump that we had to get rid of recently had center stems that reshoot every year for the first 4-5 years. However, even then, by it's 8th year, which is this year, there is significant center die off, and it was starting to look really raggedty. New shoots are produced from the periphery of the clump, not adjacent to the dead center, so that, in time, the pampas grass will resemble a ring, not a clump. I don't think there is anything you can do to prevent this from happening. But you can divide the ring of stems and replant to make new clumps.

    While we were cutting into the center of the clump of 8 year old pampas in our yard, it is evident that the center core is filled with mosture. And that's on a day when it had not rained for a whole week. The stems in the middle did not die of senescence, but from rotting of the short rhizomes, roots and stems. It's so spongy, soft and decayed in the middle, that remnants could be pulled off with ease. It seems that the tight growth of the new stems on the outer ring acts like a circular dam, retaining moisture in the middle.

    As for removing pampas grass clumps, a lot has been said about how tough a job this can be. Well, you may want to take a tip from what we have learnt - no pampas grass is gong to stand in the way of a TigerSaw, equipped with a 10 inch green wood blade!
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Some go quite visibly and extensively bald in the center, even becoming mostly bare with some ridiculous isolated tufts on the perimeter. Many others appear to maintain a full presentation indefinitely - although I haven't made a study of it. So, I don't think it's "natural" for the center to die out in a conspicuous fashion, am inclinded to assume some mishap or other variably prevalent phenonemon is causing it. Some forms of pampas grass are not terribly hardy, we lost nice clumps of the clone or strain of C. selloana 'Pumila' sold under the Ivory Feathers trademark last winter here on Camano Island - apparently because it got below 20F, burning them right up, as though completely tender.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2007
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You can strip (pull) the old dead growth with a pair of long gloves on. Tie it up in sections if there is a lot and just do one loose bit at a time or it can be burned out as long as it is a safe thing to do. Not near buildings etc. New growth will start up and off it goes again. I have been doing this to a pampas for years. and it is fine. Getting rid of old material is easy as long as you have somewhere to compost it or shred it. It will break down fairly quickly.

    liz

    Liz
     
  5. danggophers

    danggophers Member

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    thankyou.. My pampas grass was also moist and rotten in the dead center. I've heard pampas grow abundantly along the California coast. Sand which drains well might solve the problem. trev
     
  6. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I agree, perhaps those gardeners whose pampas grasses have well preserved centers garden in drier climates, or in well drained soils.
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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