Cut down deciduous grasses

Pruning is simple and encourages healthy growth this spring and summer

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Ornamental grasses in all shapes and sizes are good for adding colour, structure and texture to the garden. Many are grown for their attractive summer foliage, but even in winter when the foliage has turned golden-brown, they still add height and movement to the garden.

Deciduous grasses are like herbaceous perennials in the fact that the foliage dies in winter and new growth is made from ground level in spring. By late winter after rain, snow, frost and wind, many grasses that are still standing are starting to look a little tatty around the edges. This is the point that they need cutting back to encourage a new flush of growth over spring and summer.

Pruning is very simple and with all deciduous grasses is simply a case of cutting all the old growth back to an inch or two off ground level with shears or secateurs. All deciduous grasses, such as miscanthus, calamagrostis, molinia, and hakonechloa can be cut back now. Evergreen grasses such as carex, festuca and luzula are not usually pruned hard, but there are a few semi-evergreens including stipa and anemanthele (pheasant’s tail) that do respond to being cut back, especially if their foliage has been damaged by winter weather. Cutting back now will ensure a healthy clump of grass in summer.