Ornamental grasses usually require minimum or very low-maintenance. Fall is the best time to give them a little more attention  if you wish them standing until spring for winter interest; it’s a good idea to cut them back now.

Winter weather gradually breaks down most grasses and they’ll fill your garden with mess. It’s much easier to cut them back now and save yourself the cleanup.

At the same time a little care is needed for specific variety of ornamental grasses. Marginally hardy grasses like ‘pink Muhly grass’ and ‘blue fescue’ get benefit from the insulation that their foliage provides. ‘Liriope’ will look lush and green all winter, turning brown in March, so it’s best to wait until then to cut it back.

Majority of the ornamental grasses should be cut off a few inches from the ground. Very small grasses including “Little Bunny” can be cut shorter, and large clumps of maiden grass, zebra grass or porcupine grass should be left six inches tall.

“Gas-powered hedge trimmer” is one of the most useful tools for cutting back the ornamental grasses. Weed trimmers do a good job on small, soft grasses. Tough, large grasses easily can be cut with a chain saw. You can cut just about any grass with a good pair of bypass hand
pruners
.

Large clumps of ornamental grass generally tend to die out in the center. This happens through time because the plant uses up all of the food in the soil, expanding around the edges where there’s more nourishment. It is more appropriate to scatter some Plant Tone or other dry fertilizer on grasses after cutting to replace the food in the soil.

Dividing and separating the ornamental grasses into quarters will bring in fresh start.  Big grasses have really tough roots; to cut them into chunks you’ll need a sharp spade. Work the soil, dig nice,  big planting holes and mix in some fertilizer when you re-plant. In a year or  so, the transplanted chunks will form neat, round clumps.

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