View Full Version : need help knowing how to cut back plant

Orkin Yards
02-28-2001, 08:30 PM
sorry for my ignorance, but here in MS we have a bush that is green and has long green leaves on it, no wood, and the edges of the leaves are like a razor blade, will cut you up if you brush it the right way, they put out white blooms that look kinda like something u'd use to dust curtains, my questions is HOW do you guys cut them back, i have to do that to my commercial accoutn and i was just wondering HOW you cut them back, like what tools, process etc...

02-28-2001, 08:36 PM
Are you talking about Pampass Grass?

Orkin Yards
02-28-2001, 08:41 PM
that's what it is!

02-28-2001, 08:45 PM
I would use hedge trimmers or a machete and just cut it back when it gets overgrown.

02-28-2001, 08:47 PM
We will use hand shears (24inch blade) and then cut them back to about 6 inches from the ground. If you do this in the Fall it is best to burn the tips. Just set them afire for about a minute and then put them out. The next Spring they will flourish. If you cut them back in the Spring then DO NOT burn them.

Hope this helps.

02-28-2001, 09:19 PM
I have 8 Pompass grass plants for a border in my back yd. Every March i cut them down to around four inches. Come spring they take off and by June there ten-feet tall and make a real nice border,my airedale terrier loves running around them. Marks Mowing Service

02-28-2001, 09:26 PM
Kris, I need to cut two of these back soon. Both are approx. 8 ft. tall. If I cut them back to 6 inches how long will it take until they are back up and looking good. This lawn is in a high class section and I would like to make a good impression with the homeowner and the neighbors as well. These two plants are used to hide negative areas of the homes architechture. I only want to cut them back that far if they will regenerate quickly. Thanks for your help in advance.

Island Lawn
02-28-2001, 09:49 PM
Pampas comes back REAL fast
I just cut some last week w/ my new Stihl hedge trimmer. It made short wok of them. BUT they make a mess (to put it very lightly!)Clean up took more time than the actual cutting!
I've used hand shears in the past and have gotten quite the workout, and broken my share of shears! I keep 'em no for back-up/sentimental reasons.

Hunter Landscape
02-28-2001, 09:55 PM
the way to generate new growth on many ornamental grasses is to take off the old growth in order to make room for the new growth. this pertains to pampas grass, liriope, mondo grass (if you wanna get that low) among others.
for the pampas grass in question, i used my hedge trimmers to cut em way down. that is the easy part! the clean up is more difficult. these grasses should be cut back before new growth appears and never after new growth. if cut back after new growth appears the new foliage will show the "scars" of the "trimming".

hope that may help ya.

02-28-2001, 09:55 PM
Dude, there is only one way to do this job! First, make sure you wear long sleeves and gloves, I don't care if it is 100 degrees outside! These things will eat you alive if you start getting in there to do the trimming. Second, USE A CHAINSAW!! This can be over with in five minutes. Cut straight across about six inches from the ground. Rake up the mess, throw it in a wheelbarrow and dispose of it.

02-28-2001, 10:12 PM
I think someone posted one time that they tie a rope and pull it tight around the grass before cutting it. This makes the clean up easier I think.
Try the search I am sure it's here somewhere.

02-28-2001, 10:16 PM
Great idea, I'll have to try that one! Thanks!

03-01-2001, 12:19 AM
I was just thinking how to make clean up eaiser. I would try wrapping it in plastic down to the point where you are going to cut then when it is cut all you have to do is pick it up and carry it to the truck. That way you don't have all that stuff to rake up. I have never tried this but it might make life a little eaiser.

03-01-2001, 08:17 AM
Everything I have read on pompas grass trimming recommends cutting it back in Feb down here in the south. I like the idea of tying the rope around it to make clean up easier, I think I'll try that next time.

Island Lawn
03-01-2001, 08:41 AM
Tying it up first... Great idea!!!

I have tried to keep a tarp around the base or the grass but it makes such a mess, the tarp never catches it all.
I think if you tie it up first you've already got most of it ready to go.

03-01-2001, 09:17 AM
As the others have stated, if you were to prune this grass back now properly even though you are concerned about the growth factor, by practicing the proper horticultural practices you will find that your specimens will flourish by late spring. If nothing else they should be half to 3/4 of the way back to where you would like them to be.

I would not recommend partial pruning. Cut them back now. Then cut them back again late in the fall burning the tips, and they will be that much farther ahead for the next Spring.

Good Luck!

[Edited by kutnkru on 03-01-2001 at 01:19 PM]

03-02-2001, 02:34 AM
Duct tape works well too. Just wrap and wrap until you get it nice and tight then cut just below. Then cleanup is a snap.


SJR Lawncare
03-02-2001, 08:15 AM
Great idea,

The Rope thing is going to save me some time cutting down all types of ornamental grasses....


Island Lawn
03-02-2001, 09:36 AM
I can duct tape faster than tie knots.
Thanks for the tip!

03-02-2001, 10:09 AM
Also need to watch ornamental grasses for need for dividing. Will probably happen sooner in south because of better growth. Most ornamental grasses are bunch types - grow outward every year, getting larger in diameter. As they get larger, the interior gets suffocated, and can die off, so you have grass growing in a donut effect. If not divided regularly - usually 3 to 5 years here depending on the type - these plants can become unattractive and weakened.

03-02-2001, 10:19 AM
Great Idea!!! I am gonna do that this weekend.

03-02-2001, 03:15 PM
One of my properties has four of these. I wrap rope around it 3 times tie it of and do the next etc. I run a handsaw through it grab the rope and drag them away-fast easy and no mess. Duct tape man you gotta love that stuff!

03-03-2001, 06:25 PM
When I was in school, the botanical gardens maintained their ornamental grass by cutting it back with a chainsaw or weedeater with a metal brush blade.
Small grasses such as liriope can be cutback with a 21" mower. Raise the deck to 4" and mow away.

Our company maintains the grasses by cutting back with gas powered hedge shears. Its quick and somewhat safer than using a chainsaw. If you have helpers or other employees, have them hold the grass as you cut it, and throw it on a tarp or in the truck.

And if you don't have a helper, then by all means use the rope or duct tape method.

03-04-2001, 08:01 PM
A tie down strap works faster and better than a rope. You may have to use to straps for a big one. I prefer hedge shears over a chainsaw, it's plenty fast enough and seems to be a little safer.


Atlantic Lawn
03-04-2001, 10:03 PM
We use duct tape and chain saw or power shears.If you want You can cut 3 footers at about two ft tall, this still leaves a nice bush and bam in a few weeks it really takes off. If you want you can clean the inside of the plant with a pitchfork, this allows growth in the center if the plant again. Nobody feeds Pampas around here... give em some good ole 10-10-10, they seem to love it.

Craig Turf Management
03-04-2001, 10:40 PM
I'm in a volunteer fire dept. In years past, some of the old-timers in town would have us come out and burn it for them in late winter. By late spring, it would always be back good as new. Not very good hort. practice, just something I've seen before.