Planting ornamental grass and plants can add flair to any yard or garden. However, some ornamental grass and plants can tend to be very invasive. It may look nice, but it can consume your garden and spread in no time if you don’t keep it under control. Making sure that you know when, how, and why to control pampas grass is very important.
What is Pampas Grass?
Cortaderia selloana, most commonly referred to as pampas grass, is an ornate plant that comes in over 25 different species; which allows for a wide variety of sizes and colors. Pampas grass is named after the South American, Pampas region. Pampas grass has been known to be widely popular in North America because of its ability to thrive in almost any climate and region. The pampas grass plumes can usually grow to about ten to thirteen feet tall and the grass itself can be as wide as six feet or more. This makes them great for privacy and wind barriers. Many people use the height of pampas grass and their plumes to create privacy walls, as ornate hedges, and to define property lines.
Why and When to Trim Pampas Grass
If you move into a new home that has pampas grass on the property or if you decide to plant some in your yard or garden; you need to make sure that you keep this invasive plant under control. If you fail to do so, it will quickly spread and can become unmanageable. It can completely take over your scenery, and you may start to notice smaller patches nearby. Make sure to get rid of those sprouting pampas grass bunches, before they start growing into a bigger problem. Save yourself some trouble and make sure you know how to control your pampas grass properly.
Pampas grass is a perennial, and properly taking care of it will ensure beautiful plumes all year long. You should trim back your pampas grass once a year. If you trim back pampas grass in the latter months of winter, it will stay maintained until the following year. Waiting until the end of winter is the best time to give your pampas grass a good thorough trim. After winter your pampas grass will sprout up new foliage, and if you trim it beforehand, it will produce magnificent plumes that last all year.
How to Trim Pampas Grass
Trimming your pampas grass is quite easy, and if you keep up with it annually, you’ll be able to enjoy its beauty for many years to come. Luckily it only takes a few hours, once a year, to keep pampas grass properly maintained. Just follow these steps to keep your pampas grass maintained and under control:
- Near the end of November, you need to start drying out the foliage. This helps prevent shock during the harshest winter months. Just tie a string, about four feet from the ground, around the leaves of the grass to allow any excess water to drain out.
- If you live in colder climate areas, you should also cover the roots and base of the pampas grass. You can use straw, mulch, or grass clippings as a natural approach; or you can purchase a fleece wrap to cover the roots and base. This will protect your pampas grass when temperatures drop below freezing.
- When it is near the end of winter, right before spring, it’s the best time to trim back your pampas grass. You can now use the string that you tied back in November as a cutting guide. Using a chainsaw, you can cut straight across the top of your string. When you have trimmed your plant, you can cut the string, gather your clippings, and dispose of them. By spring you’ll be enjoying beautiful plumes and lush grass.
- Before trimming, make sure there’s nothing unexpected inside of your pampas grass. Many types of critters often use the base to make winter nests.
- Wear eye protection. While trimming, debris will be flying. Keep your eyes protected at all times with safety glasses or goggles.
- Dress appropriately. The foliage of pampas grass is very sharp. The sharp edges can cut you and cause irritation to your skin. Make sure to wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves when trimming.
Lastly, relax in your yard and enjoy the beauty of your pampas grass!