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How to Cut Pampas Grass Back

Chain saw against firewood pile image by Andrzej Thiel from

Pampas grass adds texture to the landscape through three growing seasons. This plant produces long, green, blade-like stems in the summer and dries off to a light golden brown during the winter months. Learning how to cut back pampas grass requires an understanding of plant's growth habits. This tough ornamental grass also requires heavy pruning equipment to tackle the thick foliage.

Allow the pampas grass to discolor over the winter months. The natural death of the leaves provides some texture in fall and winter landscape. To limit tipping of the heavy blades, tie twine around the entire plant at 6-inch intervals to keep the grass clump upright.

Schedule pruning sessions for late winter. The reason for pruning at this time is to limit potential cutting back of new pampas grass shoots. In addition, the removal of dead foliage allows light to enter the interior portions of the plant to encourage new growth.

Collect all grass blades in a bunch and tie a length of twine around the entire plant if you didn't already perform this task. Clip off dangling string ends to avoid catching rope in the cutting surface of your pruning loppers or chain saw.

Wear gloves to avoid the sharp edges of the grass blades. Start at the outside of the clump and cut back the grass to 6 inches from the garden surface using pruning loppers. Use a chain saw for larger clumps of grass. Pruning involves shearing all dead leaves straight across to leave cut stubs protruding out of the garden soil just like a buzz haircut.

Strip all dead foliage from the plant and place in yard waste bags. Run your gloved hands through the interior of the plant to remove old foliage. The object is to allow light to enter the plant to produce new growth.


If you haven't already removed the flower plumes, clip stems to use in dried flower arrangements. Plumes will last longer when sprayed with a light layer of hairspray to limit breakage.

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