Ornamental grass. Beautiful and easy to care for I must say. Ornamental grass can really make a statement in your landscape and not many insects or diseases affect them, that is why I love them. However, I recently discovered something that I never knew about ornamental grasses. They can be dangerous!
Not so dangerous as to be detrimental to your health, but dangerous enough to cause a bit of discomfort. Let me explain:
I recently decided to divide a few of my ornamental grasses. They have been in the landscape for a few years and have gotten to be fairly large. The day was quite warm, so I removed my shirt to stay a bit cooler. I grabbed my trusty square edge spade and started hacking into the first clump of grass. It was a Maiden Grass called “Gracillimus”. It was a little tough cutting through the root system, but I kept at it and succeeded in removing a few clumps that I planted in my landscape.
Next was a few Silver Grasses. Strictus, Little Dot, Graziella, and Malepartus, followed by a few Fountain Grasses which included one called Hameln.
I got them all divided and placed in the landscape and was quite happy with my success, however, I soon discovered the hidden danger in dividing ornamental grasses.
Shortly after placing the last clump of grass in the landscape, I started to have a burning/itching feeling on my shoulders and back. You know the type, the kind you used to get when you were a kid and rolled on the lawn without a shirt. It was driving me crazy!
I took a look at my shoulders to find a fair amount of red scratches. Each scratch burned and itched like hell!
I then realized that as I was cutting through the rootball of each clump of grass, I had placed my shoulders and back under the blades of grass to support them as I cut the roots. This resulted in the blades resting on my skin as I worked. I never realized the blades of grass were as sharp as knives! Each blade of grass is like a small knife, cutting right into the skin as it comes in contact with it. As I was concentrating on cutting through the roots of the grass with my spade, the blades were slowly cutting into my skin, which resulted in hundreds of small cuts. Once I was done with the dividing and planting of the grass, I discovered my shoulders and back were stinging, and ended up itching and stinging for about 45 minutes.
I will NEVER divide any ornamental grass without a shirt on again. The burning and itching was enough to make me crazy. No amount of scratching or even a cool shower helped. I just dealt with it until I either started to ignore it or the discomfort faded, but I can’t really say which it was. Take it from me, wear a shirt when dividing your ornamental grasses to avoid the “hidden danger” of dividing ornamental grass..