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Cutting Back Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add motion, sound and texture to the winter garden. Prune them back once the worst of winter weather has passed and before new growth begins.

Cool season grasses are among the first to sprout in spring.  Monitor their growth and do your spring trimming before the plants get growing.

Warm season grasses make their appearance a bit later. These plants combine nicely with spring flowering bulbs that bloom soon after you trim these back.  Once the bulbs finish their floral display, the warm season grass grows and masks the bulb’s fading foliage.

Use a hand pruner to cut smaller grasses and individual plants. Bind the leaves of larger grasses together with twine. Then cut the bundled leaves, just above the base of the plant and below the twine with a hedge trimmer, weed whip or pruners. Pruning and cleanup will be quicker and easier.

A bit more information: Cool season grasses green up and begin growing early in the season when the soil is still cool.  They tend to bloom in late spring or early summer. Warm season grasses wait for the soil to warm to begin growing.  They green up later and flower in late summer or fall.

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