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Time for a Haircut

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Time for a Haircut

While the ornamental grasses are basically maintenance free, there are two maintenance chores associated with them, one of which is to divide the large clumps about every four years or so to reduce crowding and start new divisions if desired.

The other is the annual late winter or very early spring chore of cutting back the grasses to within a few inches of the ground. The process was in full swing here in the Kemper Center Gardens the other day and in this picture the finishing touches of the “haircut” were being applied to one of the clumps of grasses.

Sometimes the great thing about seeing someone else do a task is that you can learn a new “trick” to make the job a little easier as well as saving some time in the process.

One of the headaches of trimming the taller grasses is that when you cut them off near the ground, the grass blades tend to fly all over the place as you cut them off and the process of gathering them up can be quite cumbersome.

Here’s the “trick” that was shared with me by this staff member and her co-worker: Before you start to cut off the grasses, tie the entire grass plant together with a bio-degradable twine. Then as you cut off the clump of grass, it basically all stays together and clean up is much easier and faster. If you compost the grass, the string can stay on and will bio-degrade along with the grass. I thought it was really a neat idea!

Electric, gas powered or hand operated hedge trimmers work real well to cut off the grass blades as does a string trimmer with a blade attachment.

Other plants that are also cut back close to the ground at this time of year are the grass-like perennial lily turf. Both Liriope spicata and Liriope muscari and their cultivars are best cut back before their new growth starts in the spring.

If you have large areas of lily turf, you can actually set your lawn mower at a high setting and make the job go much faster. Other methods include using some of the methods mentioned above.

Whether its finding out more information about a new ‘trick’ or other gardening information, at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening we can help: Use this website, call in your questions to the Horticulture Answer Service (M-F from 9-Noon @ 314-577-5143) or ask your questions in person at the Plant Doctor Desk (Monday-Saturday from 10-3.)

Time for a haircut, so sharpen up those clippers and happy gardening!

| Categories: Spring | Tags: grass, ornamental grass, trimming, Liriope spicata, Liriope muscari | View Count: (1708) | Return