Cutting Back Ornamental Grasses

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Caring for Your Landscape | 0 comments

Now that the snow is gone, and spring is just around the corner, its time to cut back your cool season ornamental grasses.  These grasses start growing very early in the spring season, and should be cut prior to the new growth.  Along the front range in Colorado, this is around March 1st (weather permitting).  Don’t know which ones are cool season?  Here are a few of the common ones found in our gardens:  The Feather Reed Grasses, including Karl Forester, Blue Oat Grass, Northern Sea Oats, Tufted Hair Grass, and the Blue Fescue’s.

Avalanche Feather Reed Grass

Blue Oat Grass

Use a sharp hedge shears or a sickle and cut approximately 6″ above the soil line (Blue Oat Grass can be left a bit taller,), and gently rake out or comb through with your fingers to remove dead leaves in the center.  To make cutting and clean up a bit easier, tie the grass up with a bungee cord or twine about 2 feet up from the ground in a tight bundle before you start to cut.  This will make for easy cleanup.  This is also a good time to evaluate weather or not your grasses need dividing.  Our warm season grasses such as Miscanthus, Pennisetum, Switchgrass, and Little Bluestem are best divided in the spring before growth resumes.

Colorado Native, Little Blue Stem ‘Blaze’

As you can see, these grasses add great texture and interest in our gardens as well as providing seeds, a food source for birds in the winter. So if you don’t have any grasses to trim, then its time for you to make a plan to add a few to your garden this year.

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