pampas grass care & pruning

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by Mick, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Mick

    Mick Member

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    I would like to know the most appropriate way to clip/prune pampas grass to maintain a reasonably trim look.
     
  2. westgatea

    westgatea Active Member

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    Pampas grass

    We have masses of the stuff! I cut it down each spring to about 2 - 3 ft high and, if at all possible, burn it down to almost ground level. (Be very careful and have a hose handy!) They seem to flourish with this treatment.
     
  3. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years of Activity

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    Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass) is adapted to occasional fires. An old friend of mine who lives near BCIT in Burnaby (we'll call him Erwin, and leave it at that), having read about this, decided to burn the huge clump in his yard. He was tired of being sliced up by the razor-sharp leaf margins (they cut into skin very easily if handled in the wrong direction), and the there were many dead leaves accumulated from several years of growth.

    One cool, dry Sunday morning he lit a rolled up newspaper and pushed it into the mass of dead leaves, whereupon the whole clump exploded into flame. Unfortunately the clump was situated rather too close to his house and the fire started to lick the roof above. As the fire raged, growing bigger, the overhanging eave started to catch fire. Seeing this (and not having a big enough hose at the ready), he quickly called the fire department, who luckily, were not far away and responded immediately. They put it out before the fire spread much beyond the eave.
     
  4. veronika

    veronika Member

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    Grass

    I have the same sort of questions about pampas grass. When we moved into our new house almost 2 years ago there was some grass there already, so when it died in the winter we pruned it right down, however it never returned. So we planted new grass in the early summer and it did very well, now I'm nervous about pruning it. Could it be that we somehow did something wrong? Does it depend on the time of year that you prune it?
     
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    oh my stars! I just read Douglas' post about the flames and my wife now thinks I am nuts, I am laughing like a schoolchild and have tears running down my cheecks. what a vision ! blazing grass clump with flames licking the eaves of the house! HAHA.Just imagine the startled look of puzzlement (fear?) upon the poor firestarting homeowners face.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Maybe the one in Hope froze out, which is why it didn't come back. Down here they are reseeding and popping up along freeways and streams, perhaps the recent, mostly mild winters are making this possible.
     
  7. misssuzie

    misssuzie Member

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    Re: Grass


    I have the same problem with my pampas grass.

    We planted it last spring and did well. But this spring I cut it back and it hasn't done
    so well. I was wondering if it takes awhile to come back. (Is it too early in this area)?

    Thanks
     
  8. I live in Oklahoma. My problem is that the grass that I planted is not growing very much at all. Can anyone give me any answers or sugest anything that could help this problem.
     
  9. Ive just planted the grasses as a type of natural fence, and really want them to flurish. how can this be done?
     
  10. I have pampas plants as a fence in my back yard. The management company wants me to cut them to the ground. I live in Florida and they are doing well have been in the ground for 6 years. Them seem to be bothersome to soom. What will happen if they are cut to the ground. I feel they are a living thing and that would be an awful thing to do. Please advise me as to the proper time of year to do this and what will happen to them. Thankyou
     
  11. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    Burning pampas grass should only be done every 3 years, more often than this and you will weaken the plant. Personally i use a long handled petrol hedge trimmer, cutting back the plant to about 2 feet, in March.
     
  12. todd pratt

    todd pratt Member

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    how to prune pampas grass
     
  13. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I have never lost a Pampus clump, even after burning it clean in March...good luck, burn only if your plant is overgrown and well established...5 years or more...longer in marginal climate zones.
     
  14. newfloridian

    newfloridian Member

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    I just moved to Florida and the house we are renting has pampas grass close to the side of the house. It's growing over the sidewalk and you can hardly walk by without getting cut. How do you cut this stuff back to keep it from overgrowing the bed?
     
  15. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Hire a garden crew to dig up your over grown specimen. Divide and replant where the plant will not interrupt your pathways. I suggest you do this in the winter.
     
  16. Debra Dunaway

    Debra Dunaway Active Member

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    It really shouldn't be so difficult. In the spring cut back with a weed whacker. Neat and tidy. Yes very ruthlesss with cuts and sharpness, but dress for it. Deb
     
  17. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    I have had the best luck like oscar said cutting it down to about 2 feet. If it is cut any lower, you risk freeze damage in the crown. correct me if I am wrong, but the Miscanthus zebra grass can have the middle begin to die out once it gets rather large? I had one that was about 4 feet in diameter and it began to do this. Maybe it is a good idea to divide these when doing the cutting back? I do like to leave them for their seed heads and winter appeal. I live in Arkansas and usually cut them back around February-March.
     
  18. Debra Dunaway

    Debra Dunaway Active Member

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    Dixie, I agree with Oscar also...no pruning lower than that and yes best to split in the spring when new growth is emerging. I do prune in the spring also as the foliage that has died back does add a degree of protection through the winter. Some folks do not prune at all..this is ok also but they do need to be split when dying back in the center of the clump.
     
  19. admjl

    admjl Member

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    I live in Calgary and on a whim bought a package of pampas grass seeds from home depot in late winter last year. I'm not sure which variety exactly but from the picture it looked like the huge pink kind. I live on the top of a very large hill with a down sloping yard facing directly south/SW in a new neighborhood with no Tree cover to speak of. To make matters worse the houses are arranged in such a way that the wind is tunneled directly through my backyard as it blows across the face of the hill - a nightmare for all but the hardiest of prairie plants. So you can imagine that I was shocked when my little pampas grass seedling not only survived the winter but THRIVED all summer long. All I did was completely cover the plant with a two foot mount of red cedar mulch and tie an old bbq cover over the whole thing. It still died almost all the way back to the ground but this year it got so big that I had to build a 4 foot styrofoam enclosure around it and fill it with 5 bags of the mulch. If (and given the weather here that's a BIG if) it survives this winter I have no idea how I'm going to shelter it next year... if it grows as much as it did this summer it's going to be way to big to cover it up again but I don't want my unexpected success to end up being what kills the thing. Does anyone else have experience overwintering pampas grass in zone 3? how far can I cut it back in it's third and fourth year without killing the growth nodes for the next year? Was last winter a complete fluke or should I bother trying to keep it going in the seasons ahead (the coldest it got was around -35C but up on this hill with the wind it can get WAY colder)? -help!
     
  20. Burt

    Burt Member

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    I was going to cut my pampass grass back now but it's the last of April is this too late?
     
  21. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Are you cutting live new growth or just dried up growth?
    cutting out the old leaves is harmless.
     
  22. Gormlaith

    Gormlaith Member

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    We just planted small plants that are about 1ft tall and are somewhat sparse. How many years till they achieve full height?? They are being used as a privacy screen and a sound blocker for our neighbors.
     
  23. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    In one year planted in rich soil, they can be 2.75m or 8 feet tall! They can attain 6.5m
    or 20 feet in a few years! The leaf edges are like sharp saws.
     
  24. CorneliaWathen

    CorneliaWathen Member

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    I have just moved to a new house and I have pampas grass. Now that it is Spring, I wonder if I should cut it back so new grass can grow.
     
  25. Miss_Pam

    Miss_Pam Member

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    I think next time I trim mine I will take your advice and only trim to 2 ft. Early this spring I cut it right down to 1-2 inches and there are only a few small sprigs of grass now growing rather slowly.
     

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