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How to Prune Ornamental Grasses

Spring is one of the best times to tackle your ornamental and native grasses and give them a hair cut (or prune) them. Grasses begin to grow at varying times depending upon the Genus. They grow, flower, and produce the seed heads that remain attractive throughout summer and fall, and have become an important design element in the winter landscape as well.

Pruning your ornamental grasses ensures they start the growing season off on the best leaf possible. Below are some trimming tips to help with the task.

  • Timing: Prune ornamental grasses in the spring before new growth appears. Late winter or early spring is the ideal time for trimming.

  • Tools: Use clean and sharp gardening shears or a pruning saw to avoid damaging the grass blades. Avoid using electric trimmers as they can shred the grass blades.

  • Safety: Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and pants to protect yourself from sharp grass blades. Take it from us, grass blades can be sharp!

  • Height: Cut the grass down to about 2-4 inches from the ground. This will help promote new growth and prevent the grass from becoming too top-heavy and falling over.

  • Technique: Hold the grass in one hand, or tie off with twine, and cut with the other, cutting at an angle to create a natural, tapered look.

  • Clean-up: After trimming, remove any dead or broken stems, and debris from around the base of the plant to keep the area clean and healthy.

  • Fertilize: After trimming, apply a slow-release fertilizer around the base of the plant to promote healthy growth throughout the growing season.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your ornamental grasses will look their best all season long.

(Cool season grasses, like the Karl Foerster Reed grass pictured above will start to grow early in the spring.)

(Warm season grasses like Switch Grasses or Flame Grasses, pictured above, will not show signs of life sometimes until June, so just be patient as the soil needs to warm up more until you will see growth.)

If your grass clumps have gotten too large across, they should be divided to keep them vigorous and healthy. Just remember, It is important to cut the old foliage before the new blades begin to emerge.

Contact Story Landscaping, LLC for all your planting needs and landscaping designs,


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