How to cut an ornamental grass

How to cut an ornamental grass

Do not cut off the natural winter protection

The aboveground plant parts of the ornamental grasses - stalks and leaves - serve as natural protection over the winter, among other things, from moisture in the root area. If you cut off the plant parts in autumn, you risk the ornamental grasses suffering from stagnant moisture in winter.

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Why? When the stalks are cut or shortened, they are opened and water can enter the tubes. It flows down to the roots, where it can provide moisture. Larger grasses such as pampas grass or Chinese reeds should, however, be tied together so that they do not bend over in winter.

Reasons that speak against pruning in autumn

For these reasons in particular, pruning ornamental grasses in autumn is not recommended:

  • Straws divert water to the side
  • provide shelter for insects and birds
  • The risk of rot is considerably reduced by leaving the plant parts in place
  • Ornamental grasses serve as valuable decoration during the dreary winter time (ornamental flower / seed heads)

Spring is the best time to cut

After wintering, you can cut your ornamental grass. Spring is the best time to do this, between mid-February and early March. The cut should be made before the new stalks and leaves start to shoot.

Be careful not to damage the new shoots when cutting! The advantage of pruning is on the one hand that the ornamental grasses look better and on the other hand that the new shoots can grow unhindered.

Cut down to just above the bottom

How to cut your ornamental grass correctly:

  • Gather up in clumps
  • use a sharp knife or secateurs
  • Cut off the stalks and leaves to just above the ground (10 to 15 cm)
  • Remove dead leaves if necessary

Warning: not all ornamental grasses need to be cut. For some species, such as feather grass, blue fescue grass and bearskin, it is sufficient to comb them through with your hands. Alternatively, the dead plant parts can also be pulled out. However, wear gloves to avoid injuring yourself on the sharp-edged leaves!

After cutting, fertilize, divide and multiply

After pruning in spring, the perfect time has come to lightly fertilize the ornamental grasses, for example with compost. This time is also ideal for digging up the ornamental grasses, dividing them and thus rejuvenating and multiplying them.


If you don't want your ornamental grass to sow itself, you should cut off the inflorescences in autumn.