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How to Prune Pampas Grass

By G.K. Bayne ; Updated September 21, 2017
Pruning will bring forth large blooms.
herbe de la pampa image by Karl-Heinz Strüdel from Fotolia.com

Pampas grass is a perennial native to South America. In late summer, large varieties of pampas grass can reach heights of 10 feet and diameters of 6 feet across, but will die back to ground level when hit with cold weather, even in areas where only a light winter frost might happen. In this event, the grass must be pruned to encourage new growth once the warmer spring temperatures approach. If the dead grass is left, the showy blooms of the female plants will not be as prolific.

Prune the pampas grass in late winter or early spring, just as new shoots are beginning to emerge. Cut the dead growth back to ground level using the pruning shears.

Broadcast a light fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 8-8-8, around the plant. Use approximately 1 pound of fertilizer for every year of growth.

After pruning, divide the pampas grass plant and move some sections to new areas if it is becoming too large for its current location. Do this by digging out some of the plant's roots.

Place the divided roots into a new hole. The transplant hole needs only to be as large as the root ball you have just removed. Pampas grass is very forgiving when transplanted.

Fill the soil back into the hole around the pampas grass root ball. Add sufficient water to the new transplant to remove all air from around the roots. You can tell when sufficient water has been added by observing when water no longer drains into the soil.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer 10-10-10 or 8-8-8
  • Shovel (optional)
  • Water


  • The best time to prune pampas grass is in late winter, prior to the spring growth period. Move the cuttings to a compost pile. The well-rotted compost can be added to other flowerbeds the following year.