Ornamental Grass – Cutting Back

Q: On one of your TV shows you demonstrated a good way to cut back pampas grass. Can you refresh my memory?

A: I demonstrated cutting the grass with a carpenter’s saw but I’ve found an electric shrub trimmer (or even a chain saw) to be very handy too.

The process was easy to manage after I cinched the clump up tight with a rope so I could saw away at the base.

Cut your pampas grass clump down to between 12 and 18 inches high anytime in January, February or early March.

Maiden grass and fountain grass should also be trimmed, but 8 – 10 inches high. Be sure to remove any dead stems in the center of the clump.

If you don’t do so, the center will stop producing new green sprouts. Rounding the top of the clump is attractive temporarily but will lead to a hollow clump.

Be sure to wear a long sleeved shirt and gloves when you work: the grass leaves are razor sharp.

T. W. notes: “I have my own safety recommendation to add. Please wear protective eyewear! I received abrasions to my eye from the sharp blades of grass. The eye healed quickly but it was a very painful experience that others should avoid.

grass 6

maiden grass before pruning

grass pruned 3

after pruning

 

rounding the top of this maiden grass clump means the center will eventually die

rounding the top of this maiden grass clump means the center will
eventually die


this pampas grass wasn’t pruned last year and then was pruned too high this year, leaving a hollow center