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Give your grasses a haircut13 February 2013
Give your grasses a haircut and a general tidy-up ahead of the new season. Many grasses hold their shape beautifully over winter, their seedheads and arching leaves making architectural sculptures rimed with frost: if you're looking get the look in your garden, good varieties to choose include Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Miscanthus sinensis 'Kleine Fontane' and the evergreen golden oat grass, Stipa gigantea. All are available from your favourite garden centre.
About now, though, even the stoutest of flowerheads are starting to collapse and look a little sorry for themselves, so it's time to sort them out and get them ready for the new year.
Deciduous grasses, those whose leaves have died back to a uniform strawy brown including Molinia 'Transparent' and Deschampsia cespitosa – can be trimmed right back to ground level using secateurs. Remove flower stems and all last season's leaves completely, keeping an eye out for new growth coming through to avoid damaging it.
Evergreen grasses, like Anemanthele lessoniana, need relatively little effort to tidy them up. Remove last season's flowerheads to the ground, then with your fingers comb out any loose dead foliage from the main clump of greenery (wear gloves as the leaves can be painfully sharp-edged).