I have decorative grass plants in my yard. How should I care for these at the beginning of the year before they start growing green again? Should I cut away the dead brown blades of grass?
With most varieties of grass it is best to cut them in very early spring, especially with the miscanthus and switch grass and pampas grass, most of the tall ones that you see around. If you wait too long, you run the risk of cutting off the tops of the new growth, which comes through the old growth. If you do that, the tops will be blunt and dry out instead of being perfect blades. In that case, you have to live with it until the following spring, when you have another chance. While on no grasses does the brown from the previous season disappear, on some grass, like thread grass (nasella) and blue fescue (festuca), it is impossible to get the brown growth out without leaving brown stumps that never really go away and look like a bad haircut. For those, it is better not to cut, but later in the summer you will find that you can just hand pull out some of the old stems. Some people call this combing. It is high maintenance and you might want to be aware of that before choosing these specific varieties. If nothing else, pull off the old seed heads so that you can see the new growth better. The good thing about ornamental grasses is that they only require maintenance once a year.