Spring Maintenance for Ornamental Grasses

Does your lilyturf look tattered? Are your ornamental grasses colorless, crackling and breaking? Cut back ornamental grasses, leaving 4 to 6 inches of foliage, preferably before they start to green up. Cutback will encourage leafing out. For lilyturf (Liriope), clip off last season's weathered leaves just above this spring's green leaf sprouts. Spring is also a good time to divide cool-season, warm-season, and evergreen grasses and sedges. Divide to make more plants, renew a mature clump when the center or other areas have died, and revive a struggling plant. Small grasses such as lilyturf and carex often can be pulled apart. Large grass clumps can be dense, thickly stemmed and rooted. They may need to be cut apart with a sharp spade, pulled apart with heavy-duty garden forks, or cut into pieces with a hacksaw. Save your expensive pruning saw for more delicate branch pruning.