How to Cut Tall Ornamental Grass


Ornamental grasses are used for borders, screens or accent points in the landscape. Some grow very tall and die back in the winter leaving dead top growth that is of interest in the winter landscape but needs to be trimmed in early spring to make room for new growth. Cutting at the right time is important, because if you wait too long you may damage the new spring growth that is just beginning to appear around the base of the ornamental grass.

Step 1

Clean old leaves and garden debris from around the base of a dormant ornamental grass clump. Wait until early spring, because the dead top growth helps protect the base of the plant from freezing weather during the harshest part of the winter.

Step 2

Wrap and tie string around the leaves or fronds of the ornamental grass 6 to 10 inches from the bottom of the plant. This is to gather the leaves so they are easy to pick up after they are cut.

Step 3

Cut off all dead leaves in one even cut 3 to 4 inches above the ground. Clean out any leaves that are wrapped around the base of the plant.

Step 4

Add new mulch around the base of the plant without covering the crown. Covering the crown with a thick layer of mulch may cause the crown to rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Tall ornamental grass
  • Pruning shears or heavy-duty sharp scissors
  • String
  • Mulch


  • Growing Ornamental Grasses in the Garden
  • Ornamental Grasses: Care and Maintenance
  • Ornamental Grasses: Which to Whack, Which to Leave
Keywords: cut ornamental grasses, tall grass care, prune grasses

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.