Spring Hours

8:00am-7:00pm Sun. - Thur.
8:00am to 8:00pm Fri. & Sat.

5050 SE Stark, 503-231-5050

9000 SE Division, 503-788-9000

Portland, OR

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Portland Nursery

Ornamental Grasses & Bamboo

Grasses are a great choice to add structure, color and movement to the garden. Work them into any garden style as focal points or accents and you'll be delighted with their graceful ease.


Use grasses in…

  • Zen Gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Modern Gardens
  • Small Spaces
  • Beach or Coastal Gardens
  • Cottage Gardens
  • Xeric, Low-Water Gardens
  • Shady Spots
  • Northwest Style Gardens
  • Container Gardens
Grasses at Portland Nursery

Grasses and Bamboo at Portland Nursery


Grasses, Grass-Like Plants & Clumping Bamboo

Grass-Like Plants

Controlling Running Grasses & Bamboo

Nigra BarrierGrasses and bamboos come in clump-forming types and running types.

Clumping types stay where you plant them and won't ever hop your fence or stray across your yard. Running types are the ones that can get away from you.

The good news is that if a few precautions are taken when planting, bamboos and grasses that want to stray can be kept in place. Download our Bamboo at a Glance handout for a handy reference to clumping and running bamboo types.

Bamboo Root Barrier

In the above photo, bamboo root barrier surrounds a planting of Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra. The barrier is made of 60ml (very thick) plastic and is planted in a 3 feet deep trench and sealed with a stainless steel clamp.

A few inches of barrier are allowed to show above ground. Bamboo roots are most likely to attempt escape by hopping over the top of the barrier, so if that happens, roots can easily be seen and cut back before they become a problem.

Step by Step instructions for installing Bamboo Root Barrier.

Bamboo root barrier works well to contain running grasses as well as bamboo. Blue Lyme Grass Elymus, Japanese Blood Grass Imperata and Giant Reed Grass Arundo donax are candidates.

Root Pruning & Trench Approach

The Bamboo Garden recommends digging a trench around plantings and pruning roots as they attempt to move into the trench.

Step by step instructions for the trench approach.


Bamboo in Containers

Bamboo looks great growing in containers and using them is a good way to control spreading as well.

Choose a large pot.

The pot should be wider at the top than the bottom or have sides that are straight up & down. Any type of lip that narrows the opening will be very difficult to work with when roots require pruning.

The pot should have drainage holes in the bottom.


ProblemsBamboo Problems

The roots of this bamboo have grown under the sidewalk and sprouted on the other side. Once this happens it is very difficult to handle.

Removing the growth above ground will only work until new shoots come in spring. To dig out the roots, the sidewalk will have to be removed. Spraying with herbicide to kill the roots becomes a viable option.

Lawns & Lawn Care


Seas of Rolling Green Await...

What a lawn likes:

Knowing what a lawn likes goes a long way to creating that great looking patch of green.

  • Soil pH of 6.5-7
  • Lime 5lbs. per 100 square feet, twice a year.

Our rainy climate leaves soil with a low pH, making it hard for lawn grass to pick up the nutrition it needs to thrive. Raise the pH by adding lime twice a year and your lawn will be much healthier.

  • Water 1" per week

In summer, watering this much will allow the lawn to go dormant, which is healthy. Letting the lawn grow taller in hot summer months, 3-4" keeps it looking greener.

  • Fertilize 3x per year with organic fertilizer or 4x per year with synthetic fertilizer.
  • Start in March, finish in September.


Starting a New Lawn


Seed or Sod?
Both are good options. Sod is instant lawn!! Seed is more cost effective but takes time.

Which ever route you choose, soil preparation is a very important step and is the same for both methods.

  • Roto-till when the soil is not too wet.
  • Add compost to help increase drainage (air and water flow) through the soil.
  • Add lime to raise the pH level, 5lbs. per 100 square feet
  • Use the roto-tiller to blend lime and compost

Lawn from Seed
We carry a nice variety of high quality seed mixes blended for Pacific Northwest conditions.

  • Water Warden – slow-grow, low water option
  • Envirolawn – blend of grass, clover and flower seeds
  • Sun, shade or blended sun and shade

Choose the seed that suits your site's requirements and follow the 5 steps on our Installing a Seed Lawn Brochure.

Sod Lawn
Portland Nursery brokers sod for a local turf company. Sod is never stocked on site at the nursery, but can be ordered through our staff members.

We offer two different types:

  • Water Warden – slow-grow, low water option for sun to shade.
  • Home Base – full sun blend

Call for pricing and availability.

Sod will be delivered directly to your house within 2 days of your order.

Lawn Renovation

  • Remove moss – use a moss killer & rake out the remains once moss has turned black (about 2 weeks).
  • Remove or kill weeds
  • Remove thatch using a thatch rake. This will also rough the surface of the soil for planting.
  • Aerate soil if the ground is poorly drained. Use compost or pumice to fill aeration holes.
  • Add soil in low parts of the lawn to level the planting area.
  • Add lime, 5lbs. per 100 sq. ft.
  • Sow seed using a seed blend that suits your sun exposure. Use a seed broadcaster at a rate of 3lbs. per 100 sq. ft.
  • Fertilize following the directions on your fertilizer package.
  • Cover seed lightly with compost, no thicker than 1/8" to protect from birds & erosion.
  • Water, keeping seed consistently moist.
  • Mow when grass is 1 ½" tall.


Lawn Alternatives

Lawn & Path alternatives for sun

Lawn & Path alternatives for shade.