Tips for Pruning Your Ornamental Grasses and Perennials

The growing season, believe it or not, is already upon us! One of the tasks you should be performing on your landscaping this spring is cutting back your ornamental grasses and perennials. Pruning helps promote healthy growth and makes your landscape look its best throughout the spring and summer months. However, there are a few rules of thumb that you should follow to avoid unnecessarily damaging your plants.

Ornamental Grasses – The Season is Key

Before setting about pruning your ornamental grasses, you’ll need to get some knowledge about the kind of grasses that they are. There are two types – warm season grasses, which turn brown when the weather gets cooler, and cool season grasses, which look great year-round. You’ll want to begin planning to trim your cool season grasses early in the spring – make sure to leave around a third of the plant in place to avoid irreparable damage. Warm season grasses should be pruned either in the fall or mid to late spring. If you decide to prune these in late spring, cut them down to just a few inches off the ground before new growth starts.

Pruning Perennials

Spring-blooming perennials should be pruned either immediately after they start to flower or once they have finished. There are several techniques that you can use to prune perennials:

  • Deadheading: removing spent flowers from the plant. This promotes new flowering and discourages the production of seeds, which can sap a lot of energy and nutrients.
  • Cutting Back: removing certain parts of the plants to reshape it. This can be done purely for aesthetic purposes or to encourage new growth, but be cautious and make sure the plant is adequately watered afterward.
  • Pinching: similar to cutting back, except you only remove a small part of the plant. Pinching helps to improve the plant’s growth and is usually done in late spring after growth is done.
  • Thinning: removing the plants’ stems to increase flower size and decrease the chance of disease. This is effective for plants prone to disease such as beebalm, Bethlehem sage, and Lady’s mantle.


If you have a unique, personal landscaping project in mind, contact TDH Landscaping. We will work with you to combine your vision with our renowned expertise and experience to make it happen. We have been in business for over fifty years, and our goal is to give every landscape a curated touch while offering the knowledge to keep your residential outdoor area beautiful all year long. Give us a call today at 410-692-0050, send us an email at, or fill out our contact form here to get the process started. Keep up with our blog for more updates and helpful tips, and don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestYoutube, and Houzz!

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