Maintenance of Ornamental grasses

There are two main groups of grasses – evergreen and deciduous. Evergreen grasses just need a quick tidy. Deciduous grasses are cut back every year.


Early to mid-spring depending on species. Deciduous grasses, which turn brown rather than necessarily lose their leaves, are treated differently to those that are evergreen.


Deciduous grasses can often be cut back hard.

  • Some deciduous species can be trimmed to ground level before growth starts in early spring. Other later starting deciduous grasses, need the old stems left to protect the crown, so wait to clip these until late mid-March to April. Prune carefully so new shoots aren’t accidently removed.

  • There is often confusion surrounding Stipa tenuissima as itis classed as deciduous but in warmer areas acts as an evergreen. If there isn’t much dead material, treat it as an evergreen by just combing out loose foliage with gloved fingers. Alternatively, in colder areas if there is a lot of dead build-up, cut back fully in spring.

Evergreen grasses usually only need the dead material removing and do not always respond well to hard pruning.

  • Small evergreen grasses can be trimmed in spring, with any brown tips removed and dead leaves cut back.

  • Larger evergreen species need hard annual pruning in early spring, cutting back as far as possible, but without damaging any new growth.

  • Old flower stems and any discoloured leaves care removed individually from sedges, rather then cutting back everything completely.