Cut back pampas grass: Tips for pruning

Pampas grass
Pampas grass

For several years, ornamental grasses have come back into fashion. They embellish front gardens and balconies in their own, very special way. First and foremost, there is a great demand for representatives of the genus of pampas grasses (Cortaderia), especially for the American pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). After all, undisputed is the enormous ornamental value in the garden, even in the dried state at winter time. However, in order for the ornamental grass to sprout new and vigorous after the winter, it should definitely be cut. However, if it is not known exactly how this is done, fatal mistakes can also be made here, which, in case of doubt, can even endanger the life of the pampas grass.

Is it necessary to cut pampas grass?

Pampas grass does not require much care. However, so that it can develop well, it should receive a radical pruning in the spring. Since the plant keeps sprouting from the mother plant, thus forming a cluster, enough space must be created for the new shoots. Only in this way can the grass develop optimally. In late autumn or at the beginning of winter, the leaves of the pampas grass dry up. However, they do not fall off by themselves and should not be cut off in the fall. Rather, tie the shoots together in the upper area before the first frost. In this way, the pampas grass will receive its first winter protection from the protective leaves.

Even when wilted, the sharp-edged leaves can still cause cuts. Please always wear sturdy garden gloves when working with the pampas grass.

When to cut pampas grass?

Pampas grass should always be cut in the spring, when the days have become frost-free. The inside of the stem of pampas grass is hollow. If you were to cut your pampas grass in the fall, water would accumulate there and the plants would not like that at all. They would rot and frost would also have an easy time due to a large, unprotected area to attack.

Cut pampas grass when the first shoots are visible

The first shoots of the new year sprout from the mother plant’s clump in early spring. As soon as the young shoots have reached a length of about 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 in), you can cut the old leaves or shoots that were tied together above the new shoots. Depending on the weather, and therefore on the timing of new shoots, you can cut back the plant from March to May.

How to prune pampas grass?

For pruning pampas grass is worth preparing a few things. The leaves of pampas grass are very sharp, and some even have barbs as a protective mechanism. Be sure to put on a long-sleeved top and long pants. Cut-resistant garden gloves and safety glasses will protect you from any potential hazards. A sharp pair of garden shears will be sufficient as a cutting tool.

To cut the pampas grass in the spring after the last frost, first loosen the tape with which you tied the spikes and leaves in the fall. Now, grab small bundles of leaves and stems one by one just above the plant’s clump and carefully cut them off at a height of about 20 cm (8 in) above the ground. Please pay attention to the new shoots that are already appearing so that they are not damaged. The new growth now has enough space and also gets enough light.

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