How to Trim Ornamental Grasses


As spring arrives, plants awaken and stretch up out of the soil--that is, plants other than ornamental grasses, which are sadly bent down from the beatings of winter rain and snow. Ornamental grasses need a severe trimming in the early spring to remove dead growth and clean them up. Not only will this allow new growth to thrive unhindered but it will make your garden look much neater, and you can compost the pruned dead grasses.

Step 1

Choose a day in early spring before any new growth is showing. Otherwise, you might end up cutting new growth along with the old. Put on gardening gloves and eye protection; ornamental grass blades are quite sharp.

Step 2

Gather up the brown ornamental grass stalks into a bundle. Tie twine around the middle of the bundle. If your grass is very large, you may have to create more than one bundle.

Step 3

Use pruning shears to cut off the grasses close to the ground. Cut them down as low as you can without cutting into the crown. Depending on the size of your grasses and how many plants you have to trim, an electric hedge clipper may make this job easier.

Step 4

Lift off the tied grass bundle and set it aside. Trim off any remaining long pieces of grass. While the bundle is still contained, you may want to clip it into more manageable sized pieces before tossing it in the compost bin.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Electric hedge clippers
  • Twine
  • Garden gloves
  • Eye protection


  • High Country Gardens: Ornamental Grasses, Form and Function

Who Can Help

  • High Country Gardens: About Ornamental Grasses
Keywords: ornamental grasses, how to trim, new growth

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. She has worked as an educator and now writes academic research content for EBSCO Publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.