Pampas grass is a towering ornamental grass with foliage that grows up to 10 feet high. The addition of yearly flowers in the form of plumes stretches this plant's height up to 20 feet. These majestic plants require yearly pruning to remove dead foliage. Unlike other ornamentals, pruning pampas is relatively simple. Learning how to cut pampas grass with trimming tools requires simple tricks to make the task more manageable when dealing with the large amount of plant foliage.
Protect exposed skin with a long-sleeved shirt and full-length pants. Wear gardening glove s to protect your hands from the sharp blades of the pampas grass fronds. Schedule cutting pampas grass for early spring to avoid damaging new shoots that appear in the center of the plant.
Gather all grass blades into a clump and tie twine around the entire bunch at a point about 6 inches above the soil level. Tie another length of twine 1 to 2 feet above the first one. Continue moving upward at 1- to 2-foot intervals to secure the entire group of pampas blades into a neat column. Binding the grass blades makes cutting and clean up faster.
Part the lowest grass blades and look for new shoot appearing in the center of the plant. Plan to cut at least 2 inches above these new shoots to avoid shearing new growth. Cutting new growth gives the plant a sheared appearance when blades reach mature length.
Choose your trimming tool. Mature pampas grass is too large and dense to cut with hand-held pruning shears. Select long handled hedge clippers for a flat, even cut for young specimens. Hedge clippers or a chain saw make quick work of large, dense pampas grass clumps.
Place the blade of the trimming tool below the lowest twine length at 4 inches above the soil surface or 2 inches above any new growth. Cut straight across the pampas grass clump in a flat, even motion. When using hand-held hedge shears, part smaller sections of grass using the open hedge shear blade. Cutting smaller sections is considerably easier than trying to tackle a large mass with a hand cutter.
Grab the bunch of cut pampas grass fronds by the twine bindings and place to the side. Use hand-held hedge shears to neaten the appearance of ragged edges or to remove any stray grass blades.
Run your gloved hands through the center of the clump to remove loose grass blades. Dead foliage in the interior of an ornamental grass clump causes the development of bare centers that restrict growth.