Maintenance of Ornamental Grasses

We often are asked about grass maintenance, so we have compiled a list of our Ornamental grasses and their maintenance schedules. When you cut back grasses, be sure to cut them close to the ground, so you don’t have nice new grass coming up through a mound of ugly old thatch. We hope that you’ll find this list useful.

Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ Cut back when done flowering, usually in Jan. or Feb.
Carex testacea Anytime
Carex tumilicola Anytime
Chondopetalum tectorum Never, it will kill it!
Cortaderia pumila After flowering, Dec. or Jan.
Cyperus alternifolius Anytime
Cyperus alternifolius ‘Nana’ Anytime
Cyperus isocladus Anytime during warm season
Cyperus papyrus Anytime during warm season
Festuca mairei Cool Season
Festuca ovina glauca Cool Season
Helictotrichon sempervirens January/February
Imperata cylindrical rubra Warm season, but hardly ever needs it.
Melinus nerviglumis After flowering
Miscanthus transmorrisonensis Anytime
Miscanthus transmorrisonensis ‘Sentinel’ Cut back whenever plant needs to be freshened up
Muhlenbergia capillaris Cut back whenever plant needs to be freshened up
Muhlenbergia lindhaemerii Cut back in late winter through April-May
Otatea acuminate ‘Aztecorum’ Never
Pennisetum ‘Fairy Tails’ New to us, we don’t know yet!
Pennisetum messiacum Can be cut back any time to freshen up
Pennisetum orientale Anytime after dormant period, usually January-February
Pennisetum seatceum ‘Dwarf Red’ Early March, July, and again early September
Pennisetum setaceum rubrum Depending on how low you want the grass to be kept, it can be cut back in March, anytime during summer (June), and again in September
Pennisetum setaceum ‘Sterile Green’ Depending on how low you want the grass to be kept, it can be cut back in March, anytime during summer (June), and again in September.
Pennisetum spatheolatum Can be cut back anytime November-January
Sesleria autumnalis Can be cut back any time, but is best to do during the cool growing season.
Sesleria caerulea Can be cut back any time, but is best to do during the cool growing season, but typically does not need cutting back.
Sesleria nitida Cool season
Stipa tenuissima Best to cut back during summer dormancy period, usually Aug.-Sept.