Ornamental grass varieties add to any landscape by providing texture, color, beauty, and year-round visual interest to a property. Plumes and foliage especially add big interest to barren landscapes in the winter. More importantly, these grasses do provide cover for wildlife from the harsh winter weather. From a horticulture standpoint, you just want to make sure that they are cut down before they start to grow come spring.
Ornamental grasses will eventually lose their luster from the winter wind and ice and may begin to look a little craggy at some point. Think about cutting these grasses back as soon as you start to get a jump start on those spring chores—or even earlier.
Getting them cut back early allows you to clear the beds before they are littered with fronds and plumes. And, when you cut them down as early spring sun starts, it allows for additional light and air to reach the crown of the grass—which helps new shoots to sprout quickly as the temperature warms.
We like to cut back ornamental grasses with hand shears, or a set of hedge trimmers (but this is one of the few times we use hedge trimmers!) You want to cut them down close to 3 inches tall. This allows you to open up the crown of the plant. Then, use a hard rake to remove any debris build up, which prevents rot and decay of the plant. After you have collected all the cut grasses, cut them into smaller pieces and add them to your compost pile—keeping in mind that if the pieces are too long, it will slow the decomposition process.