When Should I Cut Back My Ornamental Grasses?
By: Jessie Keith
“I have lots of ornamental grasses in my garden. When is the best time to cut them back?” Question from Mary of Raleigh, North Carolina
Answer: Tall ornamental grasses, like Chinese silver grass (Miscanthis sinensis) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) provide food and cover for many birds and other wildlife. Their dry blades and seedheads also tend to look pretty through the winter months. So, the best time to cut them back is in spring when your bulbs just begin to peak up from the soil. Take some sharp shears, wear protective gloves, and cut them back to about 8-12 inches from the ground. I suggests composting them. The tops quickly break down in the compost heap, especially if you cut them up into smaller pieces and keep them moist.
Many smaller bunch grasses, like blue fescue (Festuca glauca) and prairie dropseed (Sporobulus heterolepis), do not require cutting back, while mid-sized bunch grasses, like fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) do.
Make sure you rake away all remnant grassy blades to keep your beds looking tidy!
Black Gold Horticulturist
This site may contain content (including images and articles) as well as advice, opinions and statements presented by third parties. Sun Gro does not review these materials for accuracy or reliability and does not endorse the advice, opinions, or statements that may be contained in them. Sun Gro also does not review the materials to determine if they infringe the copyright or other rights of others. These materials are available only for informational purposes and are presented “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement or other information is at your own risk. In no event shall Sun Gro Horticulture Distribution, Inc. or any of its affiliates be liable to you for any inaccuracy, error, omission, fact, infringement and the like, resulting from your use of these materials, regardless of cause, or for any damages resulting there from.