Pruning Ornamental Grasses – Does Ornamental Grass Need Pruning

Tall Ornamental Grass
prune ornamental grass
(Image credit: LukeLuke68)

Ornamental grasses are an interesting, low-maintenance addition to the landscape. You may use several plants to fill a bare corner or line the garden path. Limited care and ornamental grass pruning are mainly all that’s needed to keep them attractive.

When Does Ornamental Grass Need Pruning?

Several varieties of ornamental grasses, some tall, some short, are used to help design the landscape. Many have colorful seed heads that make them even more attractive. Regardless of the type, however, most will benefit from pruning in some manner.

There are two seasons of growth for ornamental grasses, cool season and warm season. If you’re not aware of which type you’ve planted, just keep an eye on when the growth begins. This may help answer your questions about pruning ornamental grasses.

Some types of grass begin growth in late winter to early spring while others don’t sprout new growth until later in the spring season. Cutting back ornamental grass is best done before this growth begins.

Some of us like to keep the grass as a winter feature in landscapes that would otherwise be bare. If grasses provide winter interest in your landscape, wait until late winter to cut them back.

How to Prune Ornamental Grass Plants

Many grasses will appreciate a good trim. You’ll have growth soon and your grasses will fill the chosen spot. If growth seems slow, or has not begun by late spring, you may consider fertilizing your specimens.

Learning how to prune ornamental grass often includes removing dead or damaged blades as opposed to cutting back the whole clump. Comb it with a small, fine toothed rake to easily get your clump back in shape. Prune dead blades at the bottom if they don’t come out with combing. You may also comb with gloved hands.

For taller grasses, bind them about a half a foot (15 cm.) up and prune at that point. Depending on the height of your grass variety, you may prune them lower, but don’t cut flush with the ground.

Limited pruning of ornamental grasses helps keep them looking their best. Take the time to keep them in shape as needed.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.