The prolonged cold weather – more snow this week? Egad! – does give you additional time to cut back all of your ornamental grasses.
If you even have 5 minutes on your hands, run into the yard and chop the grasses down to about 4 inches above soil level. Pick them up another day if you have to.
The big yank to get them cut back is because you do not want green shoots growing up amidst the dead shoots. Then the dead stuff is very difficult to remove. The dead grass blades being very fibrous are likely to persist the rest of the season, and will be unsightly.
If you cut back too late, you will cut off the nice pointed tips of the new grass blades, will also create an unnatural look that persists all year.
So do this job right away!
A tip: Tightly tie an ornamental grass clump together about 8 to 12 inches above the base with garden twine. Then when you cut the grass blades won’t go blowing all over the place, thereby creating a second job of raking them up.
After the cut, grab your tied-up bundle of dead grass, shove it into a recycling bag and you’re done.
If you have lots of grass to cut, a hedge trimmer or an old electric knife can simplify this job. Sometimes pruning shears require a lot of hacking, which is ergonomically tough on your hands – and it takes longer.