Cutting and Trimming Your Ornamental Grasses
Yes, I know. It always is a chore to do this in the spring. I am one of those gardeners who leaves the ornamental grasses up all winter because they are so pretty in the winter landscape. The snow settled on the grass stems can be so pretty. And it is food for the birds, not to mention shelter . So we’ve usually cut ours in the spring. This year I am taking care of this now so that I will not be picking up the strands of grass all spring blown around my garden.
And that brings me to my “helper” , my husband, who just loves to have me find another garden project where I want to make photos. And write a post. I love making videos and photos for my YouTube channel, Kim’s Gardens. He is beside himself with joy when I tell him he is to be my Eye Candy for my Pins on trimming ornamental grasses. He just exudes enthusiasm, don’t you think?
My Method for Trimming Ornamental Grasses
First of all, I leave the trimming for late winter or springtime, but try and get it done well before the new grass starts to sprout. I don’t believe it hurts anything if a few little sprouts have started. My grass is a Miscanthus sinensis “Morning Light.” Both of my grasses are planted on the eastern edge of the lawn and garden so that I can take advantage of the way the morning sun glows on the grass. It is a very thick growing grass and does grow to about 6 feet for a younger grass, and then can get to 8-10 feet when it is older. Those winter seed blooms are beautiful. The plumes last all winter but do get somewhat messy in the spring. Why would anyone not want to keep that beauty as long as possible?
And there is something so restful and soothing watching the grasses bend with the wind. It just undulates and ripples so soothingly, if that is a word. Love my grasses.
This photo above is my older specimen of Miscanthus. The blades of grass curl and can be used in arrangements. It creates a thicket which does eventually die out in the middle. But you can prolong the life for years and years by cleaning it out well and adding from compost in the middle. I think it helps a bit. When we have had to move or get rid of an old grass, it takes a machine. We once rented a Dingo to move one. Those bases are usually 3-5 feet wide bases eventually. My specimen in front is only two years old now but it getting a healthy girth.
Our method to trim makes the least mess and is the simplest, I think. We use one of our Buffalo Tools BUNGEE20 Bungee Cord Set long enough to fit around the grass bundle. For this front one, a short 18″ one will do and may overlap. Then we bring out our Black & Decker Hedge Trimmerand it takes 15 seconds to cut through the base at about 3-5 inches above ground level. The bungee holds a bundle tightly and you can pick it up in your arms and take it to the compost pile.Perfect!
I use an electric hedgetrimmer and some may think that a cordless is better. I have had cordless and battery powered, but I prefer the electric one. It is always ready when I need it. If you have an electric cord on a reel for winding it out and winding it back in, it’s just a few minutes time. Otherwise, if you get your husband motivated and he reaches for the battery-powered one, well, shucks! “The charge is down. We’ll do it tomorrow…or next weekend.” Can you identify? When I am ready, I must get it done!
So mine are finished and tools put away, clippings composted, and some of the grasses spread on some damp areas in the woods. I took all these photos this weekend as we did it. I took some video but, alas, my editing talents are lacking and time is running short. Maybe another time!
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.