One of the allures of Ornamental grasses is that they provide some nice visual texture during the winter when landscape beds can look bare. The addition of snow and ice can be quite beautiful on the blades of grass.
Some people prefer to cut these grasses back in the fall, as they don’t care for the floppy look throughout the winter, but the foliage actually helps to insulate the crown of the plant. Thus, we recommend you wait until late winter or very early spring to cut them down.
We begin to cut our ornamental grass clumps down beginning in early to mid-February. They should be cut down to 4-6”. Once they are cut, we take a hard rake to remove any excess debris throughout the base of the plant. If too much thatch is kept around the base, it can cause rot and dieback to occur in the center. For older plants and those that have gotten quite large, spring is the best time to divide them, which will improve the overall health of the plant.
When pruning these grasses, we actually use hedge trimmers. Yes, we did say that. This is the one good use for them as they are very effective in cutting through the large blades. Using hand pruners takes much longer.
As spring approaches, be sure to take care of these grasses before the new growth begins to grow. If you wait too long, you may remove some of the new growth in order to cut them back far enough. Our recommended timing assures you will have a beautiful ornamental grass for the upcoming season.