The Q&A Archives: Help For Pampas Grass

Question: Last year we planted a dwarf pampas grass at our SE Pennsylvania home. It did very well through the summer. This spring we cut it down to the ground, but no new growth has emerged -- we're left with the brown stems.

Will it come back or has it died. It's rated as hardy in zone 6, but we did have a lot of snow this past winter.

Answer: Some types of grasses are hardier than others, so perhaps yours was mislabeled or someone had switched tags? You are squarely in a warm zone 6 so cold for a zone 6 plant should not have killed it. Snow is actually a good insulator, so that would not have caused the grass to die.

Normal care would include trimming the grass off short (at about six inches)in either late fall or in spring before the new growth begins. Growth usually begins not too long after the daffodils bloom, so it is possible yours is dead. Check inside the old foliage, since that is where the new growth shoots up.

Most grasses do well in a location with full sun and adequate drainage, meaning a spot that is evenly moist but not sopping wet. A location with overly damp soil during the winter could conceivably kill a grass. Other possible causes could be inadvertent contact with herbicide or some sort of root damage (eg by voles) or possibly excessive deicer salt runoff from a nearby sidewalk.

Sometimes a plant will die for no apparent reason, and we just have to try again. I hope this helps you troubleshoot.

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