Spring has officially begun and along the Wasatch Front, the gardening projects are starting. One very popular question we get this time of year is how and when to cut back perennial grasses. With the explosion in their popularity over the past years maintaining perennial grasses is a must for nearly every gardener. The nice part is this is a simple chore that pays dividends throughout the season.
First you need to know what type of grass you are dealing with: dormant, semi-evergreen and evergreen. This is important because each type requires slightly different treatment. Here is a great resource for determining each type of perennial grass http://northcoastgardening.com/2014/01/how-to-prune-ornamental-grass/.
Once you know what type of grass you are dealing with the next steps are simple. For dormant grasses, it will save you a lot of cleanup time if you tie-up or bungee your grass before cutting them. If your grass is 3 feet or undercut them at least 6″ above the ground and if they are over 3 feet cut them a foot above the ground. This is important so that you do not cut the crown of the grass or any new growth that may be emerging.
For semi-evergreen and evergreen grasses a little more caution is needed during spring cleaning. The main goal here is to remove any dead or brown blades without cutting the grass back too far. As these take a little longer to recover. For evergreen grasses like Yucca remove the lower fallen leaves and trim back any brown tips. Time and energy invested now will create beautiful plants for the entire season.