Attacking pampas

Weather has been good to me today. I have made a good start in cutting back my pampas grass. It hasn't been cut down since I moved here over 10 years ago . I decided to start on this first otherwise My garden bin gets too full of other stuff And before I know it, it's too late and it has To wait for another year. A few cuts here and there but I think I am in the winning side !
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  • be very careful of nesting rodents

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,666

    I've used a petrol hedge trimmer on overgrown pampas grass to great success in the past. Cut all the green stuff off and discard, then cut away the white bits a few centimetres at a time. It makes great compost.

    Devon.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,237

    I used a mattock, all gone now.image

  • Too scared to do the other one now in case of rodents! Will get OH to use hedge trimmer , sounds like a Labour saving device. 

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    I have a question re pampas grass too. I planted one last year, it has one "flower" and is about 25cm across. Do I cut the lot down now or just leave it until it gets bigger?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,476

    Hi Sue, you don't need to do much to them while they're young other than removing any of the outer 'blades' when they begin to die or look untidy, and the old flowering stems in the spring.  If you have a large garden then they can look great when they reach full size (often 6 feet or more across at the base) but can overwhelm a small garden and are really tricky to remove once they reach a metre diameter at the base.  I had to remove one of that size about 5 years ago (using a chainsaw) and the 'stump' is still there, but (very) slowly rotting underneath the clematis I grew over it to hide it.. 

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Thanks for the info Bob. Mine is behind the pond and has about 3 feet each side to grow into. By the time it gets too big, I probably won't be around anymore!image

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,476

    That location sounds great, Sue!  It will provide excellent cover for any wildlife visiting the pond (not many predators will venture into it due to the sharp edges of the blades) and it will provide some shade which should help keep algae levels down in the pond. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • I fell in love with the much hated Pampas Grass after a late autumn trip to Cornwall. I bought one for my Pennine garden. It is an excellent screen for a less than beautiful sight in the garden but treat it very carefully. Don't be too anxious to raze it to the ground. It is only February. Mine is still waving in the gales. We could have snow in April! The male frogs like to overwinter in the thicket.If you have cut the flower stalks off you could find Ladybirds asleep inside the remaining hollow stems. So, wait until the frogs are busy pairing up in the pond and the Ladybirds are hunting the aphids. Then, don complete gardening armour and use the powered hedge trimmers. I was once very ignorant and pruned it with secateurs and bare hands and arms. It took weeks and all the medication that the doctors could think of to repair the destruction that it had done to my skin! One can always trim the straggly leaves to keep it looking tidy. If the plant becomes too big it can, after cutting down, be dug out in bits. The rotten dead centre will easily pull out and the new outer portions transplanted or sent to another home. It will still grow, looking youthful once again. And cut it down each year.

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,143

    Just don't do what a work colleague of my wife did some years ago.  He heard somewhere that burning pampas grass somehow improved it.  I don't like the things so from my viewpoint that's probably true but I digress.

    It was a big beast so he cut it back to about 18" high and tried to set fire to it - it wouldn't burn!  So his next bright idea was to use an accelerant and he poured petrol onto it - yes really.  It did burn then, if fact it exploded and fired lumps of pampas grass all over the place.  We think the reason for the explosion was pockets of petrol fumes where the fuel had gone into the base of the clump.

    How he didn't blow himself up is anybodies guess.

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