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Now is the Best Time to Cut Back Ornamental Grasses

Renee Valdes
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Ornamental Grass | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Now is the best time to cut back ornamental grasses as the ground thaws and temperatures begin to rise. When you trim perennial ornamental grasses, they will reward you with lush, flowing stalks earlier in the growing season.

How to cut back ornamental grasses

Keeping the attractive, dried foliage of ornamental grasses through winter provides birds with warm shelter and food while serving to insulate the plant during winter. Select a warm day in late winter or early spring to cut back ornamental grasses.

  • Bundle. Make easy work of trimming by bundling your plant with twine. You’ll want to tie the twine tightly about halfway up the plant.
  • Cut. Once bundled, use hedge shears or pruning shears to cut back the ornamental grasses foliage to about four to six inches from the base of the plant. Don’t forget to wear your gardening gloves to protect your hands.
  • Compost. Because you tied your bundle, it will be easy to carry your bundle to the compost bin. It’s as simple as that. No compost bin? Just use landscape leaf bags for the yard debris.

How to divide your ornamental grassesOrnamental Grasses | The Home Depot's Garden Club

If you notice that your ornamental grasses seem too large for an area or dead spots appear in the center of your plant, it’s wise to divide.

Early spring is a great time to divide before new growth starts. After cutting back the clump, just dig it up and use a serrated garden knife or sharp spade to cut it in half. Replant in another area of your garden.

Ornamental grasses Maintenance

Ornamental Grasses | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Established ornamental grasses are generally drought tolerant. However, if winter provided little rain in your garden, now is a great time to deeply water your ornamental grasses. Using a garden hose, let the water run for a few minutes at the base of the plant.

Keep weeds down and retain moisture in the soil by adding two to three inches of mulch around the base of ornamental grasses. Be sure the mulch does not touch the base crown of the plant. 

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