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Too warm to go dormant -- still trim back?

Posted by heaven_scent 7NC (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 23, 06 at 11:02

Hi everybody =)

I have an established clump of Pampas grass and this year it's been so warm that it has barely turned brown on its tips. I normally cut it back this time of year but since it's still green I didn't know if trimming is necessary. I'm guessing it's still taking in the sunlight and worry about 'stunning' it if it's cut back while still mostly green. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Too warm to go dormant -- still trim back?

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 23, 06 at 12:24

I'll be interested in seeing more experienced responses to this thread. I'm going into my second season with several clumps of seed-grown Cortaderia.

Technically, the grass is evergreen, but, according to Greenlee, in colder climates, will go partially or totally deciduous, and requires cutting back. My almost-year-old clumps appear to have gone completely deciduous. The blades are tan over their full length. This has been one of our warmest winters on record, with a low of 15F so far, so I hope they will come back.

RE: Too warm to go dormant -- still trim back?

Cortaderia IS evergreen and as such does not go completely dormant. What appears to be a deciduous habit in colder climates is merely dieback. Obviously this would prompt cutting back in spring in those areas where the grass does turn a tan or straw color. Where it remains evergreen, annual cutting back is not required, just a simple trimming or tidying is sufficient. There is a commercial planting of Cortaderia not far from my work that is routinely trimmed to keep it tidy - the grass is very carefully shaped from the outside with the outer edges kept short and allowing the inner growth to achieve full height with flowering stems. Not a common approach, but it does keep the grass very compact and upright in a windy situation and does speak to its versatility in trimming or grooming.

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