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pruning ornamental grasses

How to Prune Ornamental Grasses


Ornamental grasses add texture, color, movement, and personality to your garden’s landscape. Pruning them ensures year-round beauty, with delicate green shoots in spring, mature foliage in summer, muted colors in the fall, and lovely frosted spikes in the winter.

Many grass varieties are drought resistant and easy to care for, requiring minimal maintenance to keep them healthy, aside from some annual pruning.

ornamental grass

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Pruning Ornamental Grasses

 Not sure what grasses to choose? Maybe these ornamental grass ideas will help you decide.

Step 1
Trim ornamental grass in the late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This may be as early as January or February in southern states, while the far north can wait until April or May.

To check for growth, pull back the dead grass and check the center of the clump at ground level. If you see any green shoots, be careful not to cut them when you’re pruning away the old growth.

Step 2
Wrap twine around the clump of dead grass and tie it into a nice bundle. This will make pruning the grass and disposing of the cuttings much easier.

Step 3
Select the right tool to cut your grass, as choosing a tool that will make a sharp, clean cut is efficient and time saving. You can cut slender grasses with garden shears or a string trimmer. Thicker grasses and canes may require loppers or a hacksaw.

Step 4
Prune the grass back all the way to the ground. Leave about an inch of grass above the soil, as this drastic pruning technique allows light to reach new shoots, encouraging fast and vigorous new growth.

More Lawn Tips:  When to Plant Spring Flowers

When to Prune Ornamental Grasses?

Pruning ornamental grasses varies throughout the growing season. It’s very helpful to know whether or not you have cool season grasses, warn season grasses, or both.

  1. Cut back warm season grasses in fall or by mid to late spring.
  2. Cut back cool season grasses in very early spring.
  3. Divide warm season grasses anytime spring through mid-summer.
  4. Divide cool season grasses in spring or early fall.
  5. Evergreen grasses and grass-like plants should only be cut in spring.

Pruning ornamental grasses is not an overwhelming challenge, as other garden or landscaping projects can be. But if you need expert help to maintain those ornamental grasses in your landscape, Ryno Lawn Care is there for you.

2 Responses

  1. The steps are really practical… But as you rightly concluded I will have to hire the services of an expert to help me do this. I just the need the best. I will contact you ASAP. Thanks!

  2. Glad to see I was doing this right. I think I mentioned my neighbor in another post. Well, he is a real know it all and tried telling me I was cutting my ornamentals wrong. I am going to show this to him just to rub it in his face. I have bookmarked you blog. Big fan of it. I will be back in the coming weeks I am sure!

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