I've got some brown foliage from the winter -- which is the best method for removing it, cutting back or combing?
If combing is recommended, how do you do that -- with a little rake or something (sorry, I'm a newbie)?
I cut back my Blue Fescue, at least once a year, a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes, I'll also give them a trim if they get ratty looking after a hot summer.
Since your grass probably came through the winter in pretty good shape I would say that you could get away with just knocking off the brown ends. For some of my tougher evergreen (blue) grasses I just tidy them up using a serrated kitchen knife. Using a motion the reverse of 'teasing your hair' you can reduce the size of the grass, knock off all the 'dead ends' and end up with something looking more natural than a 'brush cut'. Of course, as donn says, cutting back is an option too. Often my fescues get a radical hair-cut at this time of the year courtesy of the bunny rabbits. It never seems to hurt them.
I comb mine with my hands.
I also simply comb with fingers slightly pinching as I pull and repeat until the fellas look better. Heliotrichon is similar. You pull a few green ones with the brown from time to time but not to worry!
I gave mine a haircut for the first time this year, they were looking a bit ratty and brown so they got the buzz cut..we'll see how they come back. Keep your fingers crossed.