Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trimming Ornamental Grasses

As January comes to an end it's time to think about cutting back your ornamental grasses.  Just about every variety of grass benefits from an annual shearing and now is a great time to do it!

Usually by now grasses start to look a little tattered and beaten and the new growth has yet to emerge, making February an ideal time to tackle this garden chore.

Depending on the size of the clump and the variety of ornamental grass, you may want to consider using twine or a bungee cord to gather the grass together into a tight bundle. Tie your string about 2' or so above the base of the plant and make sure it is tightly wrapped. This makes the clumps easier to manage, once they've been cut.

Using sharp power hedge sheers or hand tools cut the grasses back to a height of about 18 inches or so, below your twine.   Be sure to use appropriate safety gear, goggles, ear plugs and gloves and avoid cutting grasses on a windy day... you'll end up making more work for yourself with the cleanup!

The cut clumps can be used as mulch on garden beds or composted although some of the larger, thicker varieties can take a while to decompose.

 Smaller ornamental grasses like liriopes can be trimmed using a lawn mower.  Set your mower on its highest setting and with a sharp blade and a bagger you can trim them in no time!  This technique works well for other groundcovers like periwinkle and plumbago as well.  Again, the timing is important, you want to be sure that the new foliage has yet to break dormancy.

If you have any questions about your specific ornamental grass or would rather have someone else do the chore, give us a call!  432.0788