Trimming and Pruning Perennials in Early Spring

By Allyn Paul, filed under Landscape Tips.

If you have a landscape full of soft-bodied perennials such as stella de oro daylillies, hosta, and ornamental grasses, now is the time to get out and cut them back before they start their new spring growing cycle.

The following pictures illustrate how to cut back ornamental grasses (Feather Reed Grass in this example) and Stell de Oro daylilly. Almost all perennials will be cut back the same way.

It is important that you do this trimming to rejuvenate the plant, and to remove any old leaves or stalks which could hinder new growth in the coming year. You can tell it is time to cut back your perennials when you notice bulbs, such as tulips or crocus beginning to push up leaves, indicating soil temps are climbing and stimulating new growth.

winter interest ornamental grass
This Carl Forester Feather Reed Grass gives great winter interest in an otherwise boring and dead cold-weather landscape. But it needs to be cut to the ground so new growth can push through.

I’ve had folks ask about their ornamental grasses when they don’t grown back after winter, and most times, the grass is not perennial, but annual and the homeowner was unaware of this fact when buying the plant. I can assure you that the ornamental grasses in these pictures will be big and beautiful again in about 4 weeks.

Sometimes, however, ornamental grasses do die over winter.ornamental grass spring pruning

pruning stella daylilly for spring


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3 Responses to “Trimming and Pruning Perennials in Early Spring”

  1. Steve Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Perfect timing my friend. I was going to email you to ask you about the stella’s. Mine are just as yours pictured and my wife and I were just wondering whether we should cut all that out.

    If I don’t have regular electric pruners, what should I use to cut it?

  2. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    any loppers or hand pruners will work.
    A lot of the dead stuff will just pull up by hand too, just don’t yank on it.
    Glad to be of help Steve!

  3. Susan Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I also cut down perennials in the Spring, particularly the ornamental grasses which create a nice winter landscape.

    I mainly do this because I can’t stand the barren look of all the plant foliage being gone!

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