When and how to properly prune pampas grass: a comprehensive guide


Pruning pampas grass is an essential task for maintaining its health and appearance. Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a tall, feathery grass that can grow up to 10 feet in height and 6 feet in width. However, if left unpruned, it can become unruly and overgrown, blocking sunlight and taking up valuable garden space. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for pruning pampas grass to keep it looking its best.

When to Prune: Pampas grass should be pruned in late winter or early spring, before new shoots begin to sprout. This is typically between February and March, depending on the climate and location. It’s important to prune before new growth starts, as cutting back the foliage at this time will encourage new, healthy growth to emerge.

How to Prune: To prune pampas grass, you will need a pair of safety shears or long-handled garden shears. Start by gathering up the foliage near the base of the plant and, wearing gloves for protection, carefully cut away the old, dead shoots. Be sure to remove any thick, woody stems and leave only the healthy, green shoots.

Pruning Tips: When pruning pampas grass, it is important to take safety precautions. The grass blades are sharp and can cause cuts and scrapes. Therefore, it is recommended to wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves while working with pampas grass. Additionally, be aware of the wind and avoid pruning on windy days to prevent the grass from blowing onto you.

After Pruning: After pruning, it is important to clean up the area around the pampas grass. Remove any fallen debris, dead foliage, or clippings, and dispose of them properly. To protect the roots and prevent weed growth, apply a layer of mulch (about 8 inches thick) around the base of the plant.

In conclusion, pruning pampas grass is a necessary task for keeping the grass healthy and attractive. By following the best practices and tips mentioned in this article, you can guarantee that your pampas grass will thrive year after year. So, don’t wait any longer – grab your shears and get started on pruning your pampas grass today!

8 Best Ways To Get Rid Of Pampas Grass

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) can be a beautiful addition to your landscaping, but it can also quickly become an invasive and difficult-to-remove plant. If you’ve decided that it’s time to get rid of your pampas grass, here are 8 methods that can help:

1. Manual Removal:

The most basic way to get rid of pampas grass is to manually remove it. Put on gloves to protect your hands, and using pruning shears, carefully cut the grass at the base, as close to the ground as possible. Dispose of the cut grass in bags for disposal. Be sure to remove the entire plant, including the roots.

2. Herbicides:

If manual removal isn’t feasible for you, you can use herbicides to eliminate pampas grass. There are herbicides available specifically designed to target grasses, including pampas grass. Follow the instructions on the herbicide label carefully for best results.

3. Digging:

If you have a smaller clump of pampas grass, you can dig it out using a shovel or a garden fork. Dig around the clump and try to loosen the soil while keeping the root ball intact. Once the clump is out, dispose of it in bags for disposal.

4. Pruning:

Pampas grass can be pruned to reduce its size or remove dead or overgrown foliage. Use sharp pruning shears and cut the grass back to about 1 foot above the ground. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring, before new shoots appear.

5. Covering:

If you’re not in a hurry to get rid of pampas grass, you can cover it with a thick layer of mulch. This will block sunlight and prevent new growth. However, this method may take a few years to completely kill the grass.

6. Agricultural Plastic:

For a faster method of killing pampas grass, you can use agricultural plastic. Simply place a black plastic sheet over the grass and secure it with stakes or rocks. The lack of sunlight and air will eventually kill the grass.

7. Hiring Professionals:

If you’re not comfortable or don’t have the time to remove pampas grass yourself, you can always hire professionals. They have the knowledge and tools to remove the plant safely and efficiently.

8. Taking a Gardening Course:

If you’re a beginner gardener and want to learn how to get rid of pampas grass and other invasive plants, taking a gardening course can be a great option. These courses can teach you the best techniques and practices for removing unwanted plants from your garden.

Remember, getting rid of pampas grass may require multiple attempts and treatments over a period of time. It’s important to stay persistent and be patient. If you’re unsure about the best method for your situation, it’s always a good idea to consult with a gardening professional or local agricultural extension office for guidance.

1 Prune pampas grass

Pruning pampas grass is an important task to keep the plant healthy and looking its best. Here are some steps to follow when pruning your pampas grass:

  • First, you need to identify when to prune your pampas grass. The best time to do this is in late winter or early spring before new shoots start to sprout.
  • Grab a pair of gardening shears or pruning scissors and put on a pair of gloves for safety.
  • Start by cutting back the grass to its base, removing any dead or damaged stems.
  • If your pampas grass is very overgrown, you may need to dig it out and divide it into multiple plants. This will not only help control its size but also rejuvenate the plant.
  • Next, remove any covering or clusters of dead leaves or seed heads from the plant. This will help prevent the plant from becoming too dense and improve its overall appearance.
  • Once you have pruned your pampas grass, you can begin to cover the base of the plant with a layer of mulch or compost to help it retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Remember to always dispose of pruned pampas grass carefully, as the sharp leaves can cause injury.

Following these steps will ensure that your pampas grass stays healthy and continues to grow year after year. Happy pruning!

2 Cut pampas grass back

When it comes to pruning pampas grass, safety should be your top priority. Pampas grass leaves have sharp edges that can easily cut through skin, so it’s important to protect yourself. Wear thick pants, gloves, and long sleeves to avoid any potential injuries.

To begin the pruning process, you’ll need a pair of shears or hedge trimmers. It’s best to start by removing the old flower heads, which can be quite thick and tough to cut through. These can simply be snipped off at the base.

Once you’ve removed the flower heads, you can begin cutting back the grass itself. Pampas grass forms large clumps, so it’s important to take care when cutting near the base. Begin by cutting the grass down to about 6 inches above the ground. This will help to reduce the risk of damage from wind, as well as make the plants easier to manage.

If you have multiple pampas grass stands in your garden, it’s best to prune them one at a time. This allows you to focus on each stand individually and ensures that you don’t cut off too much at once. It’s also a good idea to remove any dead or damaged foliage as you go to keep the plants looking their best.

It’s worth noting that pampas grass can be quite resilient and will eventually begin to sprout new growth. If you prefer a shorter and neater appearance, you can prune the grass more extensively. However, keep in mind that cutting back the grass too much can stress the plant and may result in slower regrowth.

As with many garden tasks, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from professionals or experienced gardeners before diving in. Taking a course or attending a workshop on pruning ornamental grasses can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to prune pampas grass effectively.

For those who prefer a more hands-off approach, there is an alternative method called solarization. This involves covering the pampas grass clumps with a light-permeable material, such as clear plastic, to trap heat from the sun. Over the course of several weeks, the trapped heat will kill the grass and its roots. However, this method is not recommended for beginners, as it can be time-consuming and may not be as effective as manual pruning.

In any case, it’s important to remove the pampas grass clippings after pruning. You can either compost them or dispose of them in green waste bins. Be sure not to leave any clippings or debris in the garden, as they can create a messy appearance and provide a hiding place for pests or diseases.

By following these guidelines and taking proper care when pruning, you can keep your pampas grass looking its best year after year.

3 Remove clumps of pampas grass manually

To remove clumps of pampas grass, it is best to do so manually. This is because pampas grass can be quite invasive and removing it manually allows you to guarantee that the entire clump is removed.

Before you begin, though, be sure to take safety precautions. Wear gloves and long-handled shears to protect yourself from the sharp edges of the pampas grass blades. You may also want to wear plastic pants to protect your legs from any potential cuts.

When removing the clumps, start by cutting back the foliage to the base of the plant. This will make it easier to see where the clumps are and to remove them. Use shears or a saw to cut through the clumps at the base. If the clumps are very large or thick, you may need to use a shovel to dig them out.

Once the clumps are removed, be sure to dispose of them properly. Pampas grass can still sprout and grow even after it has been removed, so it is best to bag the clumps and take them to your local waste disposal facility. If you have a compost pile, you can also add the clumps to it, but be aware that the grass may still sprout and eventually need to be removed again.

If you are planting new pampas grass, it is a good idea to space the plants at least 6 feet apart to avoid overcrowding. Pampas grass can grow quite large and needs room to spread out and flower. Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Prune the old flower heads in early spring before new shoots begin to grow.

According to sfgate.com, pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) usually needs to be pruned annually, but if you see signs that the grasses are still alive in the center, it may be best to leave them alone for a few more days or weeks to ensure they are completely dead. Some folks prefer to use herbicides or even solarization to kill off pampas grass clusters, but manual removal is often the best way to go.

Manual removal of pampas grass can be a labor-intensive task, but it is worth the effort to ensure that the grass does not take over your garden or flower beds. By following these steps and taking safety precautions, you can successfully remove clumps of pampas grass and keep your garden looking beautiful.


✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.