Pruning Perennial Grass

Credit: wili_hybrid

Q: I have a row of Foerster Feather Grass and would like to know the best time to prune this. I live in Victoria, BC.

Foerster feather reed grass (Calamagrostis ◊ acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) can be left to stand through the winter if the effect pleases you. I like the buff colour it turns, as well as the dry seed heads. Unless it gets beaten down by snow (like the one that hit Victoria last winter!), it may well look good until early spring.

Your guideline for cutting the whole plant to the ground, therefore, is either if it looks ratty or, at the latest, just as you see new shoots poking out of the soil in about March. Then you can cut it down to a few inches above the ground and let it start fresh. I’ve seen in cut too late (June) and too high (2 feet), and it looked really sad – like oversized shaving brushes!