A good part of proper plant care has to do with timing.   Take ornamental grass for example.  Many homeowners choose not to cut down their ornamental grass in the fall when they turn brown.  They like to keep the straw-like look and color for winter interest.

The problem occurs in the early spring when you (or your maintenance person) neglects to cut down the old growth to make way for the new spring growth.  The result is an intertwined mix of old and new growth – “a logistical nightmare”.

Its virtually impossible to now go in and prune out the old growth.  These pictures show what happens when you forget to cut them down.  Not a pretty site.

So, if you didn’t cut the ornamental grass down in the fall, now (early spring) is the time to do it before that new growth starts to commingle with the old.

There are a couple of tools suited for the job and the choice depends on the type of ornamental grass and the texture (or cut-ability…is that a word?) of the old growth.

A hand-pruner (bypass type) or hedge shear can do the job.  For some ornamental grasses I’ve had to grab clumps of the old foliage, pull taut and then cut with the hand-pruner.  I’ve also used electric and gas powered hedge shears.  These work great on many Miscanthus varieties.  But please, be careful with all cutting tools.

I’d imagine you could cut the entire “mess” down and whatever came back would be nicer to look at.  Has anyone ever cut down an ornamental grass mid-season?  What type was it and how did it come back (if at all)?

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