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Friday - October 02, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Seasonal Tasks, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Rejuvenating old Lindheimer muhly clumps
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I've got two clumps of Lindheimer's muhly in full sun in the western (limestone) part of Austin. I'm thinking they've been there for the past 8 or so years. In the past two or three years, the grasses have not thrived. They don't get as big as they once did, and they don't bloom in the summer. I do (and have always) cut them back in early spring as they first begin to green up, and this year I pulled out a lot of old/dead grass from the clump when I cut them back. Is there anything I can do to restore vigor to these plants, or do they have a lifespan and need to be replaced? If I do replace them, is it wiser to replace with an utterly different plant?

ANSWER:

There is a tendency for older clumps of Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) to die back in the center.  By pulling out the dead material in the center of the plant you should see a ring of living shoots remaining.  These will grow and recreate a more-or-less normal looking clump.  However, the recovery can be rather slow and uneven.  You might consider removing the old plants (with a nod of gratitude for yeoman service) and purchase younger replacements.

Raking or pulling out dead leaves from the clump regularly each fall before you prune back to 1-2 feet should delay or prevent the dieoff of the central leaves.

 

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