Tips for Trimming Pampas Grass to the Ground

“Can you cut pampas grass to the ground?” This is a question that many garden enthusiasts and homeowners often ask. Pampas grass, with its tall, feathery plumes and lush, green foliage, is a beautiful addition to any landscape. However, its maintenance can sometimes be a challenge. In this post, we will delve into the specifics of pampas grass care, focusing on one of the most common queries – whether or not it’s advisable to cut this ornamental grass down to the ground. We’ll explore the best practices for pruning pampas grass and the potential impacts of these practices on the health and aesthetics of your plant. So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner looking to add some pizzazz to your yard with pampas grass, this post is for you. Let’s get started!

Why Cut Pampas Grass to the Ground?

 Cutting pampas grass to the ground is a common practice known as “hard pruning”. This is done for several reasons:

  • Control Growth: Pampas grass can grow quite large, and cutting it back helps to control its size.
  • Remove Old Growth: Over time, the older parts of the plant can become brown and unattractive. Cutting it back allows for new, fresh growth.
  • Prevent Self-Seeding: Pampas grass can self-seed and potentially become invasive. Cutting it back helps to prevent this.

Benefits of Cutting Pampas Grass

  • Promotes Healthier Growth: By removing old and potentially diseased parts of the plant, you’re making way for healthier, new growth.
  • Enhances Aesthetic Appeal: Fresh growth is more attractive, helping to enhance the overall look of your garden.
  • Reduces Maintenance: A smaller, healthier plant is easier to maintain and less likely to cause problems.

Seasonal Considerations The best time to cut back pampas grass is late winter or early spring, just before the start of the growing season. This gives the plant a chance to rejuvenate itself after the winter and grow back strong and healthy in the spring and summer.

Impact on Plant Health and Growth When done correctly, cutting back pampas grass can have a positive impact on the plant’s health and growth. It can help to prevent disease, promote new growth, and keep the plant looking its best. However, it’s important to use sharp, clean tools to make clean cuts and prevent damage to the plant.

Tools Needed

1. Essential Tools for Pruning Pampas Grass:

  • Pruning Shears: These are essential for cutting through the thick stems of pampas grass. Look for a pair with sharp, durable blades and a comfortable grip.
  • Gloves: Pampas grass can be sharp, so a good pair of gardening gloves can protect your hands from cuts and scratches.
  • Long-Sleeved Shirt and Pants: These can help protect your skin from the sharp edges of the grass.
  • Garden Waste Bags: You’ll need somewhere to dispose of the cut grass.

2. Recommended Brands/Types of Tools:

  • Pruning Shears: Brands like Fiskars, Gonicc, and Felco are well-known for their quality gardening tools. Look for bypass pruning shears for clean cuts.
  • Gloves: Brands like Pine Tree Tools, COOLJOB, and HANDLANDY offer durable and comfortable gardening gloves. Consider gloves with puncture resistance for handling pampas grass.
  • Garden Waste Bags: Brands like Fiskars, Gardzen, and Sleek Garden offer sturdy and reusable garden waste bags.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Pampas Grass

Here’s a step-by-step guide to cutting pampas grass:


  1. Safety Measures: Before you begin, make sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy gardening gloves to protect your skin from the sharp edges of the grass.
  2. Choosing the Right Time and Weather Conditions: The best time to cut back pampas grass is late winter or early spring, just before the start of the growing season. Choose a dry day, as wet pampas grass can be slippery and difficult to handle.

Cutting Process:

  1. Start at the Outer Edges: Begin cutting at the outer edges of the clump of grass and work your way towards the center. This makes it easier to handle the plant and prevents damage to the center of the clump, which is where new growth will emerge.
  2. Use Sharp Pruning Shears: Use sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts. This helps to prevent damage to the plant and makes the job easier.
  3. Cut Close to the Ground: Aim to cut the grass about 6 to 12 inches from the ground. This allows for new growth while removing the old, dead parts of the plant.

Post-Cutting Care:

  1. Dispose of Cut Grass: Place the cut grass in garden waste bags for disposal. Be sure to check your local regulations for garden waste disposal.
  2. Promote Healthy Regrowth: After cutting, water the plant thoroughly and consider applying a slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy regrowth.

Common mistakes to avoid when cutting pampas grass

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when cutting pampas grass:

1. Overcutting or Undercutting

  • Overcutting: Cutting the grass too short can stress the plant and hinder its growth. It’s generally recommended to cut back pampas grass to a height of about 6 to 12 inches from the ground.
  • Undercutting: If you don’t cut back enough, the old foliage can inhibit new growth. Removing the old foliage promotes new growth and maintains the plant’s overall health.

2. Incorrect Timing

  • Cutting back pampas grass too early in the season can leave the plant vulnerable to cold weather and frost damage.
  • The best time to cut back pampas grass is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.
  • If you cut the grass in the fall, it may not grow back in the spring.

3. Using Improper Tools

  • Pampas grass has razor-sharp edges and tough stems, so it’s important to use sharp tools.
  • Using dull tools can damage the blades of the grass.
  • Hedge pruners and electric shears might not be up to the task. The best tool for the job is a chainsaw or long-handled loppers.
  • Remember to wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, and safety goggles to shield yourself from potential scratches or eye injuries.

Does Pampas Grass Grow Back After Cutting?

Benefits of Regular Pruning

Regular pruning of pampas grass has several benefits:

1. Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal

  • Neat Appearance: Regular pruning keeps the plant looking neat and tidy. It helps maintain the plant’s shape and prevents it from becoming overgrown.
  • Promotes Regeneration: Pruning before the emergence of new growth fosters a rejuvenated and vibrant appearance.

2. Improved Plant Health

  • Stimulates Growth: Regular pruning promotes new growth and extends the plant’s lifespan. It removes old foliage and makes room for new fresh growth.
  • Maintains Plant Shape: Pruning prevents plants from becoming overgrown and irregularly shaped.
  • Improves Air Circulation: Regular pruning opens up the interior of the plant, improving air circulation.

3. Prevention of Disease and Pests

  • Reduces Pests/Disease: Getting rid of old foliage eliminates places where insects and fungi can overwinter. This gives the grass less vulnerability to pests and diseases.
  • Prevents Disease Spread: Regular pruning helps prevent any old, dead foliage from spreading diseases to the new growth.


In conclusion, cutting pampas grass to the ground is not only possible but also highly beneficial. It promotes healthier regrowth, maintains the plant’s shape, and reduces the risk of pests and diseases. The best time to perform this task is in late winter or early spring, just before new growth begins. However, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes such as overcutting, undercutting, incorrect timing, and using improper tools. Regular pruning enhances the aesthetic appeal of the plant, improves its health, and prevents the spread of diseases. So, don your gardening gloves, grab your shears, and give your pampas grass the care it deserves.


Here are some FAQs:

  1. What is the best time of year to cut back pampas grass?

The best time to cut back pampas grass is in late winter or early spring, just before new growth begins.   This allows the plant to focus its energy on producing new shoots.

  1. How should you properly cut pampas grass to the ground without damaging the plant?

 To properly cut pampas grass to the ground, use sharp pruning shears or a hedge trimmer and cut the grass down to about 6 inches from the ground. Be sure to wear protective clothing as the leaves can be sharp.

  1. What tools are recommended for cutting pampas grass to the ground?

 Tools recommended for cutting pampas grass include sharp pruning shears for smaller clumps and a hedge trimmer or chainsaw for larger, more mature clumps. Always wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your skin from the sharp edges of the grass.

  1. What are the benefits and potential risks of cutting pampas grass to the ground?

 Benefits of cutting pampas grass to the ground include promoting new growth, maintaining the plant’s shape and size, and removing old, dead growth. Potential risks include injury from the sharp leaves and potential damage to the plant if not cut back correctly or at the right time of year.

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