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Proper Maintenance Practices for Grasses

Successful Grass Maintenance Techniques:

custom outdoor landscape with pavers, fireplace, and trellisGrasses are an amazing addition to the landscape providing wonderful texture, color, accent, movement, luminescence and beauty with years of almost carefree maintenance. But pruning grasses at the right time ensures their future success. Grasses pruned at the wrong time will surely suffer, begin to decline, and ultimately give grasses a bad name. In fact, grasses are perhaps one of the easiest plant groups to care for, requiring maintenance only one time each year! So let’s all help in keeping grasses beautiful throughout the year by embracing proper maintenance practices:

  • While there are general time periods for pruning both warm and cool season grasses, ultimately the grasses themselves will provide the cues for the proper time to cut them back. Only prune grasses at the beginning of growing season when approx. 2-3” of new growth has emerged from the base.
  • Prune warm season grasses in February-March in preparation for new spring growth. Warm season, spring-fall, is coming so these warm season grasses need to be pruned.
  • Prune your cool season grasses in October-November in preparation for seasonal rains and new growth period.
  • Only cut flat across the top: NO orbs, domes, rockets or torpedo’s! These odd shapes actually cause a slow death of the plant leaving dried “nubs” in the landscape which no one wants to see. When too much old growth is left from the previous season or pruned at the wrong time, sunlight and air cannot get to the base of the plant where new growth starts, thus leaving the plant unable to regenerate itself properly. See images below
Properly cut back grass close-up

February

properly pruned grasses

February

Grasses growing properly 3 months after being pruned

May

Properly pruned grasses 3 months later

May

close-up of improperly pruned grass, in a bulb fashion

February

Improperly pruned grasses

February

Grasses growing wrong after being improperly pruned 3 months ago

May

Improperly pruned grasses 3 months later

May