Garden Q&A: Trim ornamental grass in March
Q: With fall coming, I have been told to cut down ornamental grasses after they turn brown, but it seems that other people wait until spring to cut them. What would you recommend? Also, we'd like to add more of them to our landscape. Do you have any favorites?
A: Most ornamental grasses should be cut down to 8 to 10 inches in height in mid to late March. Some people choose to do it in fall instead because they don't like the grass to blow around the yard in winter. I much prefer to hold off until spring since I think the foliage adds a lot of texture and interest to the winter landscape.
You can cut the grasses down with a pair of hand pruners or long-bladed loppers. If there are too many to cut by hand, you can use an electric hedge trimmer. The trimmings make a great addition to the compost pile.
I have a long list of favorite ornamental grasses, and I have written about them many times over the years. Here are some of my favorites listed by height. Most should be available at local garden centers.
Tallest (over 4 feet)
“Karl Foerster” Feather reed grass
“Gracillimus” Maiden grass
“Heavy Metal” Blue switch grass
“Prairie Sky” Blue switch grass
“Eldorado” Feather reed grass
Middle height (2-4 feet):
“Hameln” Fountain grass
“Little White Spider” Maiden grass
“Morning Light” Maiden grass
“Northwind” Blue switch grass
“Red Head” Purple fountain grass
Short (under 2 feet):
“Avalanche” Variegated reed grass
“Goldstaub” Tufted hair grass
Purple moor grass
Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Grow Organic” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.
Send your gardening or landscaping questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- Fatal crash reported in West Bethlehem
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- Stores creating Thanksgiving dine-and-dash dilemma
- Lawrenceville boutique owners hope it’s lucky Number Fourteen
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- Pitt notebook: Chryst keeps Panthers motivated amid adversity
- Boy with fake gun shot by officer dies
- Horse racing industry banks on Wolf
- Obama’s next mass pardon
- Ohio dairy farmers cashing in on gas well boom