Features of spring trimming of decorative herbs
Why should I conceal it, I was skeptical of ornamental herbs until I tried to grow them myself. The first attempt was a complete success! It turned out that this is all year round - beautiful, absolutely does not require me to expend time and effort, money for fertilizers and pesticides. And, most importantly - quickly, literally instantly, ennobles an infertile piece of land where other plants refuse to live (except for weeds). Lack of care is good, but one very important operation is indispensable. This is spring pruning. Why, how and what decorative herbs need to be cut in the spring, I will tell in my article.
Benefits of Spring Trimming of Ornamental Grasses
In my garden, ornamental herbs settled seriously and for a long time, and their range will only increase. I also love them because over time they are able to completely squeeze out, squeeze out weeds from the place allocated to them. In overgrown ornamental grasses, birds often find shelter, but I find a source of additional income, because ornamental grasses are easily propagated by seeds and division into parts.
But ornamental herbs require some attention. First of all, this is spring pruning. Why spring? In principle, ornamental grasses can be trimmed in late autumn, and even in winter. But still better - in the early spring. What are the arguments?
You are welcome! Many decorative herbs are decorative all year round and even in winter, especially against the background of snow. So why deprive yourself of this beauty? In addition, during autumn pruning, there remains a hummock with short and hollow stems, where moisture (rain and snow) easily gets, this moisture stagnates there.
At low temperatures in late autumn, excellent conditions are created for the settlement of the fungus (aging). Or this water freezes and forms a frost hole, sometimes penetrating to the root and growth buds. All this can be detrimental to the plant. If we leave the “tops” to winter, we will not only decorate the garden and sweeten our eyes, but we will do good for the plant itself. Based on these important points, I cut decorative herbs only in the spring.
Trimming ornamental grasses with shoots drying out for winter
For us gardeners, all herbs can be divided into two groups. There are evergreen grasses (sedges, fescue, etc.), and there are shoots that dry for the winter, they are also called deciduous (miscanthus, pennisetum, etc.). Let's start with the latter. The main thing is to trim before the start of the growth of new shoots. Do not miss this important moment!
Therefore, pruning is usually started in late February, early March - in the south and closer to April - in the north. In principle, nothing bad will happen if you miss the moment of the beginning of growth and cut it “live”. The grass will cope, but you will lose time for its growth. And I want fresh greens and faster!
Can you not trim at all? It is possible, but decorativeness will be doubtful, and old shoots make it difficult to grow new ones. So - we cut, and we cut it in the spring.
How right? Oddly enough, you should start with a well-sharpened garden tool. Depending on the type and size of the plant, you may need large garden shears, pruning shears and special grass shears.
Now kneel by your grass and spread the bush with your hands. Surely (if the bush did not die during the winter), you will see at the very bottom of the yellow dry shoots a gently green part - this is living. Its height depends on the type and climate in your region, and on the size of the plant itself. You need to cut it at this height, trying not to affect the green. It is better to leave 1-2 cm of excess dry than to cut green.
Approximate numbers: if the plant is below 1 m - leave 5-8 cm from the ground, cut off the rest. If more than 2 meters - leave 15 cm. But these are very approximate figures!
For smaller bushes, it is more convenient to use secateurs or special scissors. Large overgrown specimens of miscanthus or cortaderia (pampas grass), penisetum are conveniently cut with large garden shears for hedges. Usually, a bump is given the appearance of a hemisphere.
Well, that’s it. Then, with your hands or with a very gentle fan rake, comb out the bump, removing all scraps and dried residues. By the way, to make garbage collection easier, some gardeners tie dry tops with a rope in the form of a sheaf before pruning. After trimming, everything remains together, and does not crumble around. And yet, by the way, cut dry stems of ornamental grasses are an excellent mulch for trunks and beds, or for filling for compost heaps.
You can take into account that ornamental grasses with stems dying for the winter, are also divided into two groups - cold-resistant and heat-loving. Cold-resistant wake up early and early in growth, which means that they should be cut early (soddy pike, reed). The heat-loving ones are in no hurry to grow back, which means you can not rush to trim (miscanthus, pennysetum).
Trimming evergreen ornamental grasses
Now about the second group of herbs - evergreen. Everything is much simpler here. These herbs fall asleep during the winter, they do not lose leaves, and in the spring they begin to grow further with warming. So, don't crop at all?
If the winter was warm, then most likely you won’t have to cut it off. It is enough to comb through the bush with your hands, removing some dried leaves. If the winter was harsh, frosty and the plant was partially damaged (you will notice this by the dried ends of the leaves), then these dried tips should be cut. But remember the main thing - to cut such evergreen grasses to a low hummock, and even more so, it’s not worth it flush with the earth. They will come to their senses for a long time and will be “sick” all season and will lose their decorative effect.
Care for decorative herbs after pruning
That, in fact, is all the worries. It is not necessary to fertilize decorative herbs after pruning (although, if you really want to ...), but it’s worth assessing their size and compliance with the allocated area. In the new season, will they crawl beyond the boundaries of what is permitted, will they not “run over” other plants?
If so, then pick up a shovel and boldly divide the overgrown specimen into parts. Leave something for yourself, give something to your friends and neighbors, and take something to the market (you need to pay for garden clippers).
I would say in conclusion - do not be afraid of ornamental herbs! They are very easy to care for and forgive you all the mistakes. Or almost everything.