Cut Back Ornamental Grasses in Spring

When to Cut Back Ornamental Grasses

It is common practice for gardeners to plant ornamental grasses in their gardens. After all, these plants have enticing colours and textures, so they beautify the area and easily attract attention.

Many gardeners also choose these beautiful plants because a large majority of the grasses are of native species. As such, they are very natural and helps to maintain a landscape that is water efficient.

However, the foliage of ornamental grasses eventually dies when the growing season has come to an end. Because of this, gardeners have to get rid of the grass. If you’re like most gardeners, you probably do not look forward to doing this because the task can be messy and time-consuming.

Thankfully, we know the ornamental grass removal best practices that can help you finish the task quickly and efficiently. We will be showing you these best practices here.

When is The Best Time to Cut Back Ornamental Grasses?

This depends on your personal preference. You can cut your ornamental grasses in autumn when these plants have just died or simply keep them throughout winter and get rid of them during spring.

The good thing about ornamental grasses is that they will not lose their attractiveness even after autumn. After all other plants in the garden have become dry, your ornamental grasses can still brighten things up a bit. There is also the fact that these grasses make good food for animals.

If you do decide to maintain the grasses through winter, you must get rid of them during the early days of spring lest they get mixed up with new growths. If this happens, removing the dead grass will be almost impossible without hurting the new ones as well.

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses

What Equipment Do You Need for The Job?

  • A good lawn rakes
  • A powerful petrol hedge trimmer (you can read reviews on GM) or pruning shears
  • Bungee wires or Biodegradable tape

Steps to Cutting Ornamental Grasses

1. Bind the stalks Together: Especially when dealing with full ornamental grasses, things can get messy. This is why you need to keep the mess at its barest minimum by bundling grass stalks.

For this, you can use a broad tape. Just make sure that the tape is sticky and can glue to the grasses. This is why we recommend a biodegradable tape. If you don’t have this tape a bungee cord too can do the job.

The height and width of your ornamental grass will determine whether you should bandage each grass bundle in two spots or three points along the expanse of the stalks. If the plants are large, you may need to separate their stems into many bundles.

2. Cut Your Grass: Once you have packaged your grasses in neat bundles, it is time to cut. Grab your shears and position them at the ground level of your grass and cut.

Make sure to tilt the packaged bundle away so that you will have a clear view of its base before cutting. If you notice that the grass is still well-grounded, you may want to switch to a hedge trimmer. Just make sure the bundle does not unravel while you cut.

3. Add Some Finishing Touches: While the most important step of cutting ornamental grasses is the actual cutting, there will almost always be a need to smoothen edges. A pair of pruning shears will come in handy for this. Also, do not forget to rake your garden and gather all wandering grass leaves and dirt.

After gathering all the bundles, you’ll need to transport them to a compost pile. However, you should remove the tape first if what you used is not a biodegradable tape. Bungee cords are easy to unravel and if you use a biodegradable tape you can simply leave it on the grass.

Tips to Cut Ornamental Grasses

  • Because most decorative grasses are perennial plants, you should remove the roots after cutting their stems.
  • Slice the grass into tiny pieces before leaving them to decompose. this will accelerate the decomposition process. You should do it when the stems are still in bundles
  • When composting a huge quantity of dead grass, you should add wet, greenish materials to balance the mixture. You can also introduce a little nitrogen fertilizer to assist the plant to decompose quickly


This bundling tactic generally works for all plants that have several shoots and require cutting. The technique has proven very effective for ornamental grasses so do make sure you don’t skip it. Hope you have got the answer of your question: When to cut back ornamental grass. Now its your turn. Enjoy the cutting.

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