Cutting back grasses

We've been cutting down our deciduous grasses this week.  In summer one corner of our border is a beautiful tangle of tall perennials such as rudbeckia, helenium, helianthus, and dahlias.  With these all cut back before Christmas it was just our tall miscanthus grasses that have been standing sentry against the ageing cotswold stone wall that borders the south side of the garden.

Now is the time to cut back your grasses too if you haven’t already.  Other deciduous grasses can receive the same treatment if you have them; things like hakenochloa, pannicum, molinia, or calamagrostis.  Cut them right down to the ground where the spent culms can be cut up into shorter lengths and composted.  We saved some of the finer material and left it in the woodland garden for birds to use as nesting material.

Some grasses such as festuca or stipa shouldn’t be cut back.  The dead material can be simply combed out by hand.  With the warmer weather already starting to encourage other perennials to shoot from the soil it won't be long before the grasses are once again swaying in the summer breeze.