Tips For Fountain Grass Pruning: Cutting Back Fountain Grass

Tall Fountain Grass
purple fountain grasses
(Image credit: EAGiven)

Fountain grasses are a reliable and pretty addition to the home landscape, adding drama and height, but their nature is to die back to the ground, which causes confusion for many gardeners. When do you prune fountain grass? In the fall, winter, or in the spring? What steps are involved in cutting back fountain grass? Continue reading to learn more about fountain grass pruning.

When to Cut Back Fountain Grass

The best time for when to trim fountain grass back is in the late winter or early spring. The exact timing is not as important as just making sure that you prune fountain grass back before it starts actively growing. 

You want to avoid doing fountain grass pruning in the fall, as the plant has not yet died back all the way. If you try to cut back fountain grass in the fall, you may cause it to go into a growth spurt, which will make it more vulnerable to the coming cold weather and will reduce its chances of surviving the winter.

Steps for Cutting Back Fountain Grass

The first step when you trim fountain grass back is to tie up the dead stems. This is just to make the chore of cutting back fountain grass a little easier because you won't have to clean up all the fallen stems. 

The next step in fountain grass pruning is to use a cutting tool, such as pruning shears or hedge clippers, to cut back the stem bundle. Prune fountain grass about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) above the ground. The remaining stems will be quickly hidden under the new growth. That's all there is to it. 

The steps to trim fountain grass are easy and quick and taking the time to cut back fountain grass will result in a nicer looking "fountain" in the summer.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.