Ornamental Grasses

Posted by & filed under Don Buma Blog.

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses

If you have ornamental grasses in your landscape they should be cut back as soon as possible. This is the process of removing all the dead foliage down to 6”-8” above the ground. The grasses will green up earlier if the foliage is removed and the appearance will also be more attractive if the new foliage is not intermingled with the old dead foliage.

Cutting these plants back is not a particularly  easy task. You can use hand clippers, electric hedge shears, a weed whacker if it comes with a circular cutting blade, or my personal favorite, and old carpenter’s saw. I have even known people to use a chain saw and also to simply put a match to the clump and let it burn. Both of these methods have to be done with great caution, particularly the latter as a clump of dried grass can produce more flame and heat than you might expect. If you do consider the fire approach, be sure it is legal to do so, the plants are not near structures and you have a pressurized garden hose ready in case of emergency.

When using one of the mechanical types of cutting back, it often helps to tie the clump of foliage together prior to starting. This greatly facilitates the cutting process by keeping the mass cut stems organized rather than having them flop all over and get in the way as you cut. It also facilitates a quick pick up of the debris once you are finished.