How to prune pampas grass

Written by d.c. winston
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How to prune pampas grass
Pampas grass is recognisable by its feathery inflorescences. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Pampas grass is an ornamental grass with a growth form akin to a large shrub. It is readily identifiable in the landscape by its tall feather-duster like inflorescences that appear in the later summer and autumn. Depending on the growing climate, pampas grass can be treated like an annual and pruned hard each spring or more like a perennial shrub with selective pruning annually and hard pruning occasionally to keep it healthy and attractive. Either way it remains a showstopper species in the garden.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shears or loppers
  • Rope

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  1. 1

    Prune your pampas grass in the late winter or very early spring before any new growth is visible.

  2. 2

    Remove any dead, discoloured, broken or otherwise aberrant foliage, stems and spent flower remains by cutting them off with shears or loppers.

  3. 3

    Cut each stem individually down to the crown of the plant and carefully pull each stem free from the clump and discard it.

  4. 4

    Rejuvenate overgrown or ratty looking pampas grass plants by tying a rope around the clump roughly 60 cm (2 feet) up from the soil to corral it. Shear off all of the plant stalks to the same height of between 15 and 30 cm (6 inches and 1 foot) above the soil.

Tips and warnings

  • The leaves and stem edges of pampas grass can be razor sharp and easily slice into exposed skin. Don a sturdy long sleeved shirt and heavy duty gardening gloves when ever attempting to prune or work in and around the species. If you need to reach into the shrub to making pruning cuts, consider face protection as well.

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