It’s time to take care of ornamental grasses in the Omaha and Elkhorn metro areas.
FALL- Cool season grasses tend to look good even as the weather cools. Leave their foliage in place until spring and then as soon as the snow is gone cut them back. Leave about 1/3 of the plant in place. Trimming cool season grasses too harshly can irreparably harm the plant.
SPRING- Warm season grasses are now dormant, and dead foliage needs to be removed. Grasses will be green at the very base, and this is a good indicator that they are alive, and are ready to start growing with the increased ground temperature that awaits us here in Nebraska.
Now you know when, in general, to cut back ornamental grasses. However, how are you supposed to accomplish this? First find a good pair of gloves, thick leather gloves are probably best. Some ornamental grasses can have very sharp edges. For smaller grasses a pair of pruning shears will probably be sufficient. Trim about 2/3 of the plant for cool season grasses. For many grasses it is easier to tie the grass in a bundle before trimming, this makes clean up a snap. For short grasses this might not be possible.
If you have a large, established clump of grass, pruning shears probably aren’t going to be enough and gloves become essential. You may need to use a weed eater (use one with a blade rather than string), electric or gas powered hedge trimmers, or heavy duty hedge clippers. We DO NOT recommend using chain saws to cut back grasses!
Once again, tie the tops together for easier clean up or…..something that we have learned is pull the grasses together like a “pony tail”. This works great!
We either just toss the bundles in to a compost pile or dispose in landscape bags that your local refuse company will remove for you.
Dividing grasses is one way to increase the number of plants without spending additional money. Occasional division will help grasses remain active and growing and can help renew older grasses. Some grasses, over time, will die out in the center and dividing will rejuvenate the clump. This is common in our geographic area, and is common in the Omaha area landscapes we take care of.