When to cut pampas grass ukc

Cutting pampas grass: the best pruning tips

The pampas grass is one of the most ornate ornamental grasses in the garden. So that it attracts attention year after year, it is important to do the pruning at the right time and to pay attention to a few points. Well-intentioned pruning at the wrong time can be very damaging to plants. In contrast to most of the so-called "warm season grasses", pampas grass is winter green and also sensitive to frost. While other species such as the Chinese reed or the pipe grass are left to hibernate unprotected in the garden and cut back completely in the spring, the pampas grass should be packed well in autumn so that it can survive the winter.

When overwintering pampas grass, winter wetness is a particular problem. Therefore, in good time before the first frost, you tie the tuft of pampas grass together with a rope. The inside is upholstered with dry autumn leaves or straw. Most of the rainwater runs down the outside of the leaves and does not penetrate into the sensitive heart of the plant. In addition, you should mulch the root area with autumn leaves so that rain and condensation water cannot penetrate the soil as quickly. Do the same with the varieties such as pampas grass ‘Pumila’ (Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’).

Cutting pampas grass: How is it done?

In spring, as soon as there is no risk of frost, you can cut or clean your pampas grass. First cut off old stems with fruit clusters close to the ground. If all the leaves have died, it is possible to cut back the entire tuft of leaves. If there are still green leaves, just remove the dead leaves by combing through the tuft of leaves with your fingers. Important: wear gloves!

Does pampas grass need pruning?

The ornamental grass feels at home in a sunny, sheltered location. The plant thrives ideally when the soil is rich in nutrients, humus and permeable and does not dry out in summer. With proper care, you can enjoy the weed for a long time. For many gardeners, cutting the pampas grass is also an important part of this, as the dead leaves no longer look particularly pretty in spring. Strictly speaking, the plants are not cut, but cleaned. New stalks can sprout unhindered. It is important to know, however, that cleaning out the tuft of leaves is primarily a cosmetic measure. From a purely biological point of view, it is not absolutely necessary. The dead leaves come off by themselves over time and are overgrown by the newly emerging leaves. This means that pampas grass does not necessarily have to be cut annually.

When and how should you cut pampas grass?

One of the biggest mistakes in pampas grass care is to cut the grass in the fall. Water quickly flows into the cut stalks, freezes there and damages the plant. Our tips: When no more frosts are expected in spring - around March or April - you can remove the moisture protection again. Then you first cut off the old stems with the fruit stands at ground level. When all the leaves are dry and dead, you can of course prune the entire head of leaves. The best thing to do is to cut it with hedge trimmers or in clusters with secateurs.

In the milder regions of Germany, however, many leaves are often still green in the tuft of leaves, even in spring. The dead stalks of the plant, on the other hand, have largely rotted through at ground level. Because it makes sense to preserve the green leaves, you shouldn't reach for scissors right away. To remove the dead leaves, simply put on sturdy work gloves - ideally with a rubber or latex coating - and then systematically comb through the tuft of leaves with your fingers. Important: Under no circumstances do this with unprotected hands, because the leaf edges of the pampas grass are razor sharp! With this technique, a large part of the dry leaves can be easily removed from the plants. If they don't come off well, you can repeat the process several times later in the spring.

By the way: so that the pampas grass grows splendidly again in the new season, you should fertilize your ornamental grass at the beginning of the new shoot. Organic fertilizer such as compost, which is simply spread thinly, is ideal. Furthermore, the pampas grass and its varieties can be propagated in late spring by dividing them like other ornamental grasses. To do this, you prick off a piece of the plant with a spade, put it in a pot and first let it grow in a sunny location.

Practical video: Cutting Chinese reeds

The Chinese reed is also a popular ornamental grass, but is cut differently than the pampas grass. The ideal time for this is late winter or early spring. In the following video, we will show you how to proceed correctly when pruning these plants.

In this video we will show you how to properly cut Chinese reed.
Credit: Production: Folkert Siemens / Camera and Editing: Fabian Primsch