How to Cut Down Ornamental Grass


Ornamental grasses provide structure and height to flowerbeds and landscaping. They are also surprisingly drought tolerant and work equally well in cottage gardens and formal gardens. Ornamental grasses die each fall with the onset of cold temperatures. If you allow them to remain unpruned you will have the joy of watching sunlight catch the frost that will trace the stems and seed heads. There are two types of ornamental grasses: those that form bunches and those that spread by rhizomes. Both should be cut down or pruned in spring to allow the emergence of new growth.

Step 1

Cut back ornamental grasses in early spring before new growth appears.

Step 2

Use loppers or hedge trimmers for ornamental grasses that form clumps (pampas grass). Cut back to 4 to 10 inches high.

Step 3

Use a lawn mower or weed trimmer to cut back ornamental grasses that spread by rhizomes (ribbon grass). Cut these grasses to 3 to 5 inches high.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not cut off the tips of new growth as this will prevent your grass from reaching its mature height.

Things You'll Need

  • Loppers or gas-powered hedge clippers
  • Lawn mower or weed trimmer


  • Univ. of Idaho Ext.: Care of Ornamental Grasses
  • Ornamental Grasses: Care and Maintenance
  • University of Illinois Ext.: Ornamental Grasses

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State Ext.: Ornamental Grass Selection and care
  • University of Minnesota Ext.: Cold Hardiness of Ornamental Grasses
Keywords: ornamental grass, pampas, spring pruning