Ornamental grasses are a great addition to the Tulsa landscape. Perennial summer grasses such as pampus grass, zebra grass, fountain grass, switch grass, maiden grass, and feather reed grass are some of my favorites. Annual fountain grass is a nice fast-growing grass with a reddish maroon color, but it will not survive the winters as the perinnials will.
Ornamental grass can grow and spread out to become quite large. So when planting, make sure to leave plenty of room in the landscape for them to mature. New growth begins in spring, continues all summer with beautiful flowering taking place in late summer to fall. Once established, they are very low maintenance, with little irrigation needed unless periods of drought occur. Not much fertilization is required. They are not mowed like turfgrass, rather left to grow naturally. So the place for them is not out in the lawn, but rather in shrub beds, often interspaced with other shrubs and flowers. Ornamental grasses add a nice diversity to an otherwise common shrub bed.
The flowering plumes in fall are particulary beautiful, and can add beauty to the winter landscape. In late spring, the old brown topgrowth needs to be cut back in order to allow room for new green growth from the crown and root system of the plant. I live in the country, where one can burn vegetation, along with other things that can't be mentioned in this blog. So now that the burn ban is off, I put a match to my brown ornamental grasses and watched them burn, saving me alot of time in trying to weedeat or cut with shears the dead vegetation. Burning does not harm the living portion of the grass at all, and in fact will allow it to come out earlier in spring compared to cutting back the vegetation. But don't do this within the city limits, or you will run the risk of burning your house down or getting ticketed for unlawful burning. Thank God I'm a country boy now!