Pruning "pinks"

BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)April 5, 2013

Bought our house last year. All I remember about these is that these originally looked like grass and I was shocked when the flowers burst through such fine pointed grass. It seems to me (given my limited memory) that the old owner cut these back in the fall. We did not trim back in the fall. So now I have no idea how to keep them from spreading further.
Thoughts?

Ps these are actually two different patches. And yes, I know that they look like grass. They're not though.

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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

Second pic.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:10PM
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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

In bloom.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:11PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Looks like Dianthus Gratianopolitanus, Bath's Pink is my guess. You didn't trim them back? There doesn't look like there's that much old stems, etc. for clean up. I think the patch will be fine, as is, but you can always trim it back now, if you feel that you need to. It won't hurt it. (That is, assuming that you are not in a very frigid zone. You may want to think about adding your zone to your user info so that it will be easier to advise you on things).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:38PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

wow- they look like grass to me. Pinks usually are more grayish.
The middle pick- looks maybe like thrift.

I agree there is nothing to cut now...in summer you can snip off the flower stems down to where the leaves are (make it look nice and tidy) after they start to fade and dry up. deadheading like this, you can often keep them blooming through summer.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:28AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I am wondering if there is some confusion. The flowers are certainly Dianthus aka Pinks. But I am thinking that the foliage could be Armeria aka Thrift.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:32AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Ha, me too. I have both maiden pinks and cheddar pinks and they definitely have a greyish colouration - but we are at the end of winter and even my pink foliage looks a bit lacklustre.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:03AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Flora, I thought that as well, but didn't even think about the pics being mixed up. Good catch! I'm with flora, the "grass
" doesn't look like dianthus, but blooms defin are.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:25AM
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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

Guys, they're not mixed up. Promise. But there are two "clumps" here. The blooming pic goes to the second "clump" picture. I don't have a picture of the first clump in bloom. Let me go look for another picture that shows more of the pine tree behind it so you can confirm that it's the same. Be right back.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:54AM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

Hmmm. All of us are in agreement- that your foliage looks like grass. and the middle pick *may* be thrift.

Either way- there is nothing to cut back presently. there isn't even any branching on your grass/pinks foliage. Go to the nurseries near by and look at the pink foliage and you will see that yours isn't branching.

Please take a pick of this grass/pinks if it blooms and show us.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:42PM
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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

Here you go. This is the first "clump" in bloom. Not grass. Maybe not pinks either, but definitely not grass. You can be certain because of the very unusual pine behind it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:11PM
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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

And here is another picture (further away) of the second clump. They actually look remarkably similar in photos. You can tell from the further away shots that they look a lot like a fine tip grass and then the blooms shoot forth. Isn't it unusual? This is why I don't know how/if to prune.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:15PM
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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

Found one more really good one in mid bloom.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:17PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

More 'Bath's Pink'.

Dianthus like this are far more vigorous here than any of the thrifts.

My 'Bath's Pink' is a great plant but has to be chopped back to size, yearly, with a spade (as top picture may suggest).

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:51AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Your foliage looks a lot like a pink-flowered dianthus I grew years ago as well as a white one with fine foliage I grow now, though I can't remember the name of either. Another pink I currently grow (Greystone) has foliage that's a bit coarser and quite blue-gray. I normally don't trim mine back for size at all since they tend to grow up to other plants, but not overwhelm them. I prefer to have as much of my mulch and ground covered with plants and these make a lovely ground cover. I do take shears and cut off spent blooms in spring.
Here are my Greystone in bloom (front right):
From June 5, 2012

late fall/early winter:
From November 14, 2012

and after a difficult winter with much vole munching:
From February 2013

After a winter like this one, I will pull off dead foliage with my fingers, and they will look great by May. I also will trim them back from the brick edging since DH runs the mower wheels on the edge. My understanding is that you want them smaller? If I were you, I would just leave them as they appear to have plenty of room, but if you do want them smaller, simply lift the plant stems from the outside edge and cut off what you want. I find that mine don't root from the stems much, but if you do find rooted stems, you can carefully lift out the roots, cut between the roots and the plant center, and replant the rooted parts to have new plants to put elsewhere or share with others.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:43AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Interesting comparison, nhbabs.

I find the voles favour the crocus bulbs in our garden!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:05AM
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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

Thanks, Babs that helps a lot. It's. not that I really need/want them to be smaller, just that I noticed how big they got in one season. And didn't want them to run out of room. Sounds like they will be ok.
Also, now I'm worried that they aren't particularly healthy given that everyone thought they were grass!! Do/did you fertilize them at all?
Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 3:57PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

In your second set of pictures "And here is another picture (further away) of the second clump " the blooms are hard to make out but to me it does look like thrift (Armeria, rather than Dianthus). Have you checked pictures of Armeria on line to compare? Armeria is commonly known as Thrift but another name is sea pink because of the slight resemblance.

Anyhow, as others have said, none of them need any pruning now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Armeria

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 5:12PM
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