Lines of pampas flowers make your garden look elegant and beautiful. But, at what cost?
This easy-to-grow and easy-to-maintain grass is just that – ornamental and superficial. When you dig deep (literally), you will find that it is not meant to be a part of any garden, just like other weeds you have to remove, this one must go too.
The invasive pampas flower has about 100,000 seeds which disperse and grow with ease all year round. This indicates that propagating only a small patch may also result in millions of seeds germinating far and wide. At the same time, uprooting it all becomes a test of anyone’s patience and endurance.
It is a crying shame because as stunning and graceful as they are to look at, they are not meant to grow on your turf. If you have already succumbed to the temptation and are looking for a way out, then this is just the guide for you.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
How To Get Rid Of Pampas Grass
Before we answer that, let us introduce you to this gardener’s nightmare.
The pampas grass is native to some regions of South America – namely, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. The temperate climate of these regions is well-suited for its growth, though pampas grass does flourish in the late summer and fall seasons of North America. Interestingly, pampas are a perennial type of grass – which reins in our next point.
Why Is Pampas Grass Difficult To Remove?
As mentioned earlier, there are about 100,000 seeds in one pampas flower head. These little seeds flow freely, often overcrowding the surrounding area once they mature. And what’s more, pampas grass is competitive by nature, so it competes with other crops for nutrients. With tens of thousands growing all at once, who do you think will win?
Our victor is, of course, the undisputed pampas grass that doesn’t hesitate to leave other plants in the garden undernourished and unable to bear fruit.
Massive Root System
Those who set out to manually remove pampas grass are met with a daunting task. Once you start digging up the roots, you’ll soon realize the massiveness of the root system.
These roots can be as long as 3.5m – making it an exerting and rather impractical strategy to just simply dig very deep, over very large areas. Most of the time, there is no choice but to have a plan of action that brings together manual and chemical methods.
Working with pampas grass is always a hassle because its sharp leaves are capable of making razor-like cuts.
What You Will Need
Before getting your hands dirty, ensure that these tools are at your disposal:
If you want to avoid getting cut by the pampas grass leaves, then this is non-negotiable. A long-sleeved shirt and thick pants for your body, heavy work gloves for your hands, and a pair of safety goggles will do the needful.
Bagging the removed plants and seeds effectively makes a lot of difference when dealing with pestilent grass that spreads so easily.
Regular gardening tools like shears will do just fine for cutting down grass. However, if you have experience with machetes and chainsaws, then these will probably finish the job in a fraction of the time.
Once the grass is cut, the roots have to be dealt with. For this purpose, a shovel and a pickax will be sufficient.
Haloxyfop Or Glyphosate Herbicide
Herbicides are commonly used for established plants that have become too rooted in the soil. Remember, chemical treatment should be left as a last resort, and going organic is always the more environment-friendly option.
Depending on the growth you will be tackling, there are two ways to go about this – manual or chemical.
Manual or Physical
If your pampas grass hasn’t grown out of its initial stages, then manually pulling these smaller bunches out is possible. Bear in mind that this is a tedious process that reaps the best results when done diligently over a long time.
As a rule of thumb, small bunches of grass should be under 3 feet tall. Follow these instructions to remove such grass:
Wear your protective gear to minimize any safety risks. Gloves are essential because grass has to be pulled out manually by hands – and it’s no secret that pampas grass will cut you if given the chance.
Grasp the base of the grass and forcefully pull – ensuring that the roots have also been yanked out. In case the rootstock is still in the ground, dig it up with a pickax or shovel.
Put the pulled grass inside garbage bags, and look for any traces of seeds. Dispose of these along with the grass after securing the garbage bags properly.
Mature pampas grass takes the shape of large bunches. Since they are tall in height, it is necessary to cut the stalks down so they can be sprayed with herbicide. You can either choose to use haloxyfop or glyphosate herbicides, although we would recommend the latter.
However, if you can only manage to get haloxyfop, then handle it with extreme care. This is a general chemical with increased levels of toxicity and has actually proven to be less effective than glyphosate.
Wear your protective gear and pick up your choice of cutting tool. Whether you are using gardening scissors or a chainsaw – try to cut down the bunch of drooping grass until you are left with about 2 inches of the stalk. Continue this method until all the grass is cut down as close to the ground as possible.
Collect all the cut grass and secure it in the garbage bags that are to be sent off to the landfill.
Work the ground with a pickax– this ensures that the roots loosen and won’t be as stubborn when you dig them up with the shovel. What follows is, of course, digging up the roots.
Prepare the herbicide with the active ingredient of glyphosate or haloxyfop. Spray these onto the area and the stalks that are still visible – in order to impede further growth.
As a final step, repeat the treatment after a week. However, you may have to spray new sprouts with the herbicide, so keep a close watch in the weeks that follow.
Use A Lawnmower
Using a lawnmower to cut down the grass is a time-efficient alternative to using shears and chainsaws. However, don’t forget to bag up the cut grass!
If you still plan on using shears, we advise you to sharpen them in advance for ease of cutting.
Read Herbicide Label
Follow the instructions given on the label before using any herbicides. Apart from preventing unforeseen damage, this will maximize the effectiveness of the product.
Protect Nearby Crops
Harvest any crops that are growing nearby, in advance. Not only does the process entail risks of digging out and destroying healthy plants, but herbicides can be fatal if accidentally sprayed on them.
Pampas grass may be the devil, but it wears a stunning disguise!
For this reason, many golf courses and landscapers enthusiastically invest in them once they are smitten by their gracefully curved leaves and vitality. At the same time, there must be a reason why the sale and cultivation of pampas grass are banned in Southern California and Hawaii. Actually, there are multiple reasons.
Apart from being invasive and competitive, pampas grass has the potential to become a fire hazard. Furthermore, the leaves are sharp and capable of injuring anyone who gets too close. Add these to the fact that the roots are exceedingly difficult to pull out.
While we cannot help you with all of these problems, we can at least help in minimizing the difficulties of uprooting pampas grass.
Follow this guide, and you will be pampas grass-free in no time! Till next time, Adios!