Voice of the Land

Don’t Cut Those Ornamental Grasses Too Soon

Ornamental Grasses shot at the Denver Botanic GardensOur urban landscapes have become so diverse and interesting. I love how people have embraced ornamental grasses, and it’s no wonder why. They are low maintenance, have low water needs, are easy to grow and you can create magical landscapes with them. And while they are bright and green in the spring and summer, they are even more animated on our chilly bright Colorado winter mornings. Everyone enjoys seeing all the textures after a hard freeze or a big snowy dump!

Ornamental Grasses with silvery, feathery frondsSave your ornamental grasses through winter to enjoy their beauty all season. Late winter to early spring is the right time to cut them back. Unless the plant becomes too shabby over winter, trimming back the dead stems of cool season grass can wait until the first balmy, late winter or very early spring day. As soon as any snow melts and the ground begins to thaw, seasonal grasses should be cut back.Ornamental Grasses in winter landscape

Waiting to trim off the heads until after winter also protects the crown of the plant during the hard freezes. And the early spring trim allows new growth to come in. Remember to tie up the head first, before cutting. Cut up from the ground 4 to 6 inches.Ornamental Grasses, trimmed down to 6 inches

After cutting, look at the crown of plant. If the center is dead or there is no growth, it’s time to divide. Take out sections that can be replanted somewhere else. You may also be able to use an augar in the center of the plant to stir up and renew the soil. Add new soil and mix in. This may help the centers regrow.
 Ornamental grasses in winter



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