Maiden Grass dead in the center

Asked June 26, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

I have a maiden grass that has done fabulously for several years but this year has just a few green leaves around the outside. I have noticed yards around the neighborhood with a similar issue. I attempted to pull out some off the old dead looking stuff in the middle but it didn't seem to help. The plant is not getting as much sun as it used to due to a tree nearby growing bigger. Should I divide this next spring? Does it need more or less water? Could it be a disease?

Denver County Colorado ornamental grass

3 Responses

It looks like your grass needs to be divided. It is common for some ornamental grasses, including maiden grass, to die out in the center. When the center of the grass clump dies, and the live grass blades are just around the edges, division is necessary. Once you see the center dying out, you can either chop off the healthy side pieces to move and replant or dig up an divide the whole plant. The best time to divide your grass will be in the spring. Throw away or compost the old, dead center and trim off any damaged roots. Keep the divisions moist and shaded while you prepare the new planting area. After replanting, make sure to water well and don’t let the divisions dry out. Here is a fact sheet on dividing ornamental grasses: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1068.html

Thank you so much for your response. I definitely need to divide the plant. Is there any way to do it now or do I have to wait until next spring?

Hi, Spring is the best time to divide those types of grasses here. Here is an excerpt from our fact sheet on dividing grasses: "Due to Colorado's typical cold, dry winters, spring division, before growth resumes, is the most successful, especially for warm season grasses such as Miscanthus, Pennisetum, big bluestem, little bluestem and switchgrass."