Stark Bro's Plant Manual for Golden Japanese Forest Grass

Getting Started

Acclimate

Plants grown in a greenhouse must be acclimated carefully before planting or placing them outdoors. This is especially true in hot or sunny locations. Many species should never be grown in full sun. Before purchasing a plant, learn about its sun requirements. Knowing the plants requirements can avoid any damage to the plant by incorrectly giving it the wrong conditions.

If your plant has been grown in a greenhouse, here are a few steps we recommend you follow:

  • After purchasing your plant, place it outside in a sheltered, shady spot or on your back porch.
  • Leave it there for 3-4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1-2 hours per day.
  • Bring the plants back indoors each night.
  • Water it regularly to keep the plant moist.
  • Occasionally spray the leaves with water.
  • After 2-3 days, move the plants from their shady spot into morning sun, returning them to the shade in the afternoon.
  • After 7 days, the plants should be able to handle the outdoor temperatures, if they stay around 50 degrees F.
  • After 7-10 days, your plant is ready to be planted in its permanent location. Try to do this on a cloudy day and be sure to water the plant well.
  • Observe foliage daily. If any type of leaf discoloration occurs, put the plant back into filtered light and attempt this step at a later date.
  • Special care must be taken to avoid burning the leaves.

These are general guide recommendations. Some plants take longer than others to acclimate.

Location

The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to plant your new shrub or grass? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:

  • Sun and good soil
  • Leave space for future planting

Sun and Good Soil

Your plant would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your plant “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time. We do not recommend planting in heavy, pure clay soils.

Space for Future Plantings

Once you’ve found out about fruit growing goodness firsthand, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.

Planting

With a wide range of forms, color, flowers, and sizes, grass can accent any garden. There are so many types of ornamental grasses with many different landscape purposes: You can use them for screens, hedges, borders, and container plantings, just to name a few.

Before Planting

  • Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Grasses will thrive in a wide range of soil pH.
  • Most grasses prefer well-drained soil, which has been enriched with compost or other organic matter.
  • Some grasses varieties like full sun where others prefer partial shade. Consider where you want to plant your new grass and then determine what variety would do best in that location.
  • Spacing will depend on the type of grass and how you plan on using it in your landscaping. As a general note, space grasses as far apart as they will become tall.

Planting Tips

  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root system.
  • If your grass is potted, loosen the root ball before planting. The crown should be right at the soil level when planted.
  • Refill the hole with soil.
  • Water your plant thoroughly and fertilize. (If planting in the fall, wait to fertilize until spring for best results.)
  • Water your grass every week until it becomes established.
  • Mulch in the fall to protect roots and shoots from freezing.

Soil Preparation

Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your plant’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.

The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.

When To Prepare Your Soil

Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.

How To Prepare Your Soil

  • Roots grow faster when they’re spread out. Dig the hole deep and wide enough so the root system has plenty of room to easily expand. Keep the topsoil in a separate pile so you can put it in the bottom of the hole, where it’ll do the most good.
  • To loosen the soil, mix dehydrated cow manure, garden compost or peat moss (up to 1/3 concentration) into your pile of topsoil. Make sure the peat moss you get is either baled sphagnum or granular peat. You can also add our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or 2 or more inches of organic material and work in evenly with the existing soil.

Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.

Common soil amendments:

  • compost
  • sand
  • manure
  • lime
  • peat moss

Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.

Soil Types

  • Clay and silt soils are made of very small particles. They feel slick and sticky when wet. Clay and silt hold moisture well, but resist water infiltration, especially when they are dry. Often puddles form on clay or silt soils, and they easily become compacted.
  • Loam soil is a mix of sand, silt or clay, and organic matter. Loam soils are loose and look rich. When squeezed in your fist, moist loam will form a ball, which crumbles when poked with a finger. Loam soils normally absorb water and store moisture well. Loam soils can be sandy or clay based, and will vary in moisture absorption and retention accordingly.
  • Sandy soils contain large particles that are visible to the unaided eye, and are usually light in color. Sand feels coarse when wet or dry, and will not form a ball when squeezed in your fist. Sandy soils stay loose and allow moisture to penetrate easily, but do not retain it for long-term use.

Care & Maintenance

Fertilizing

For the best care, fertilize sparely in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer such as 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio.

Insects and Diseases

Every plant has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your plants encounters. If available, disease-resistant varieties are the best option for easy care; and for all types of plants, proper maintenance (such as watering, pruning, spraying, weeding, and cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.

Oedema

Occurs when roots take up water faster than it can be used. Forms tiny swollen blister like areas on leaves.
Natural Control – Avoid over watering, improve the flow of air over the leaves.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Nematodes

Small, worm like insects that feed on roots and foliage depending on the insect. Root feeders cause above ground symptoms, foliage loses its luster and wilts. If prolonged root stress may result in yellowing and eventual loss of foliage. Foliage feeders produce lesions on leaves.

Natural Control

  • Select plant that are suitable to your area and are pest free.

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Powdery Mildew

Whitish-gray powdery mold or felt like patches on buds, young leaves and twigs. Leaves may crinkle and curl upward. New shoots are stunted.

Natural Control

  • Remove and destroy fallen leaves and other debris.

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Foliar Rust

Disease appears as orange or brown spots, especially during warm, humid conditions.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Pruning

Pruning Tips

  • Prune your ornamental grass in early spring after its winter dormancy. To encourage new growth, and ideally before new growth even begins to form, prune the grass back to about 3 to 4 inches.
  • Evergreen grasses do not require early spring pruning except to clear out any signs of damage or disease.

Additional Notes

Eventually, you may notice that your ornamental grass appears to only produce new growth around the edges of the main plant. At this time you will need to break up that main plant and transplant the divisions as you would new plantings. Carefully break up that clump with a hand trowel or knife until you end up with smaller divisions, usually 1/4 the size of the original main clump. Clean up the smaller divisions (removing dead, damaged, or diseased areas) before transplanting.

Spraying

Spraying is important to the survival of your plants. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.

Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.

What To Spray

  • Bonide® Captan Fruit & Ornamental for leaf spot, damping-off, brown patch, melting out, seeding blights and brown spot.

Watering

Once established after the first growing season, grasses typically don’t require supplemental watering unless adequate rainfall does not occur. Until then, follow these guidelines to get your new plants off to a great start.

General Guidelines

  • If you receive about an inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, your grass will be fine. If the soil gets really dry, you can give your new grass a good, thorough soaking with a hose. The best way to do this is to let your garden hose trickle slowly. This gives the water a chance to soak in instead of running off. You can also use a soaker hose to water several plants at once.