Start of the late winter tidy-up – Cold Season Grasses

Grass hedges
Grass hedges, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’

This is a timely reminder to cut back cold season grasses in late winter just before they start in to new growth.

Normally, I would do this in February in Amsterdam, but this winter it is ridiculously mild here and so I must not delay tackling one grass in particular – Calamagrostis x acutiflora. I have written about this grass in the past as it is one of my favourites, but the danger with it is that as it forms such effective upright winter silhouettes there is a tendency to leave it standing for too long. In a winter as this it will be rushing into growth very early and if not cut back now it will be too late. Well not really too late, but you will be cutting off a lot of its new season’s growth for no good reason.

I made a start with the cut back yesterday as my back is reminding me this morning, but I don’t clear the debris away to the compost heap as it makes a perfectly neat mulch around the sheared clumps.

Amsterdam GardenAs far as the other grasses and perennials in the garden are concerned it is really a matter of choosing your moment. Surprisingly, the molinia grasses in my garden are still standing upright and looking good so they will be left a little longer this winter, but if this warm weather continues I will not now waste time and press on with the tidy-up.