How and when to prune pampas grass


Cortaderia selloana, or better known as pampas grass, is a botanical species of very tall rhizomatous grasses, endemic to southern South America, in the Pampas region and in Argentine Patagonia. It grows in dense mass, being able to reach 3 m in height; perennial leaves, long and thin, with very sharp edges. It has striking flowers with a 30-90 cm white panicle with floral poles up to 3 m high. In this article we will make clear everything about the pruning of pampa grass, besides taking time to study some of the most important care of this plant.


If you read to the end you will learn the best techniques for proper pruning, the right time to trim and the tools to do it. The article has no waste, I assure you. 😉

Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. Care of the pampas grass


This herb is very resistant so it does not require much data, it is more could be said that even the most neglected gardener can take care of it. In what follows we will list the care you need among which is obviously the pruning of the pampas grass.

  • Soil: it does not require soils with a large amount of nutrients, it adapts very well to well-drained porous soils, which assure a non-sagging in rainy seasons.
  • Sun: although it can be developed with low solar exposure, in semi-shade, it prefers a full exposure to the sun. That will make it reach its greatest potential and development.
Pampas grass
Pampas grass
  • Location: if you have a small garden you should consider it well where you will place it, since it occupies a lot of space both in height and surface (about 3 m in height and 2.5 m in diameter).
  • Irrigation: the pampas grass is more than resistant to drought, adapting perfectly to long seasons with little water. That is why you should not water it very often, and when you do, always avoid puddling the floor.
  • Pruning: this is an important care for a good development of the grass potatoes, doing it in the right way and at the right time will help to a better development of this herb, something that will directly affect a better aesthetic aspect.
  • Allergenic and invasive: to finish two tips to take into account before planting (they are not cared for the plant, but care that you must have before planting it). First of all, the pampa grass is allergenic, keep in mind if there are people prone to acquire allergies at home. On the other hand is a very invasive copy once it is in a location where it feels comfortable, if you do not live in the Pampa or Patagonia Argentina check if your area is not listed as exotic species invasora.

2. Tools needed for the pruning of pampas grass


There are several tools that you will need to perform your pruning or trimming of a pampas grass. Each of them is appropriate for different cases depending on age, time of year, type of pruning, etc.

  • Hand Pruning Shears.
  • Lopping Shears.
  • Hedge Shears.
  • Chainsaw.
  • Rake.
  • Gardening gloves.

Keep in mind that you must disinfect all the tools before trimming your pampas grass. This will help prevent disease transmission, you will have to do it before you start pruning and every time you change plants.

2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

If you want to extend the useful life of your pruning tools there are some basic care.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • Wooden handles should be varnished or regularly treated with linseed oil to keep them from cracking or splintering.

Carry out the previous care on a regular basis and you will be saving good money on tools. 🙂

3. Why should I do pruning pampas grass?


In general both herbs and trees should be pruned with certain periodicity, but the objectives that are pursued with pruning can often vary between each specimen that we are going to prune. If we want to list some reasons why pampas grass should be pruned, we can list the following:

  • Reduce the size of the grass.
  • Improve the control of pests.
  • Restate the vigor of the grass.
  • Aesthetic rattles can lead us to decide to cut it during the cold season.
  • The four previous reasons could be written in a general way for many plants, but the pruning of pampas grass also has as an object a control of this herb, since as we said it is a very invasive specimen.

The list of reasons is much shorter than what you can find for a fruit tree, and it is very important to carry out pruning on this herb.

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

4. When to prune pampas grass


The pampas grass is characterized by keeping its sharp green leaves throughout the year, regardless of the environmental temperature. So and all, and regardless of the green of its leaves, during the winter this grass is in a state of rest. Rest that will end once spring begins.

With the pruning we give opotunidad to start from scratch with its growth, therefore the best time to perform the pruning of the pampas grass between late winters and early spring. This will give you the push at the right time to develop from your bases.

Since it develops at high speed, reaching its maximum size in a single season, pruning should be done annually. Do not be afraid to cut, it adapts perfectly to pruning.

5. How to prune pampas grass


If you check the catalog of articles on this website, reading each of the articles, I believe without doubts that until today this is the most technically simple pruning. The simplicity is proportional to the care you should have so that one of the sharp blades does not cut you during the task, protect your limbs well and your face from it. 😉

Within the pruning we can dinstinguir three tasks, which we will develop next:

5.1 Cut the flowers

One of the reasons why this plant is so sought after by gardeners is the beauty of its flowers. Like all flowers, it is not only beautiful when it is on the plant, but it is also used to make various decorations.

Decorated with pampas grass flower
Decorated with pampas grass flower

I guess you do not want to miss the opportunity to make some good decoration at home leaving all the flowers in the final scraps of pruning. That is why I recommend that before starting with the pruning of the foliage you select the best flowers of your pampas grass and the cuts with your hand scissors. Cut as many as you need for your decoration. 🙂

5.2 Prune all the foliage

This is the most important point in the pruning of pamap grass, in which we will make a severe cut of all its foliage. The idea is that you make a total cut very close to the ground (about 20-30 cm from the ground is fine).

The cut can be done with several tools, usually can be hedge shears, lopping shears or chainsaw, preferably these last two. Although it seems a very simple task it can be complicated to carry it out, due to its thick amount of stems and leaves.

Pruning pampas grass - Tie to prune
Pruning pampas grass – Tie to prune

As a tip, which will surely result in a faster pruning of your pampas grass, is to use some element to embrace all the foliage and compact it. In other words, you surround the entire foliage with a rope or tape, adjust it well, and then cut with the chainsaw. This will not only accelerate the pruning process, but also the collection of pruning waste will be more comfortable.

5.3 Eliminate dead foliage

In case you do not have the right tools to cut the whole plant, as we explained in the previous point, you should at least make sure to eliminate the branches and dry leaves.

You can carry out this elimination of dead foliage with a small garden rake. Insert the rake inside the foliage to then pull and eliminate everything dead.

This procedure can also be carried out before starting with the pruning to make sure that there are not any small animals inside the follje, I do not think you want to kill any small animal while you are pruning. 🙁

5.4 Pruning Pampas grass video


As is the custom of this blog we like to close the articles with a video material (in this case Grass Daddy channel), where you can review more graphically and practice many of the concepts seen so far. 😉

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

Well we have arrived so far, I hope that everything was clear about how and when to prune a pampas grass. And as we said at the beginning, do not have any doubts when it comes to taking your scissors or chainsaw.

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