Caring for Ornamental Grasses

Spring is here.  It is time to care for your ornamental grasses.

Caring for Ornamental Grasses


Winter Care:

It is best to leave ornamental grasses standing through winter to add interest to the landscape. Grasses in your garden also provide forage for birds and help protect plant crowns against harsh winter weather.


Spring Care:

As new growth begins in early spring, it is an ideal time to groom warm and cool season grasses. Wear gloves and long sleeves as blades can be sharp and inflict wounds similar to but often worse than paper cuts. Begin by tying the dead foliage of large clumps together for easy clean up. For smaller grasses, cut the foliage off so that least 2 to 3 inches remain. For larger grasses, leave 4 to 5 inches remaining.

Divide larger clumps

  • Divide larger clumps in early spring before the plant starts to put on much new growth.
  • Using a shovel/spade,  split off healthy-looking clumps about an inch or two from the plant. When done, lift out the smaller clump, roots and all. Plant grasses in desired location as soon as possible.
  • Older clumps that have died out in the center of their crown are often perfect for dividing, but remember to do so after trimming.


Evergreen Grasses:

  • Evergreen and semi-evergreen grasses should not be sheared. Groom these grasses wearing rubber gloves.
  • Gently run your fingers through clumps to comb out dead blades.
  • If your evergreen grass still looks shabby, trim blades by no more the two thirds.
  • This will encourage new growth. It may take several months to outgrow this treatment.

For more two excellent articles on trimming ornamental grasses, check out:

Other useful links and resources:

Get Ready for Spring: March Gardening Tips

Creative Gardening Pairings from Monrovia


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