Will a Hedge Trimmer Cut Pampa Grass?

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Pampas grass are popular garden ornaments and you have no doubt seen them in many homes and images. Growing them is not difficult, but they can be a challenge to maintain. Pampa grass reach up to 10 feet tall and can be invasive. But can a hedge trimmer cut pampa grass? Or do you need to use other tools? We made this guide so you can make the right decision.

You can use a hedge trimmer to cut light foliage off pampa grass. However you will need loppers or an electric chainsaw to cut the thick leaves at its base. Combining a hedge trimmer with another cutting tool is the best way to prune pampa grass.

How to Use Hedge Trimmers to Cut Pampa Grass

Hedge trimmers can cut thick grass and plants. With the right technique you can use hedge trimmers to cut brambles for instance. With pampas grass it is a different matter as the foliage is thick, sharp and rough. You have to prepare the right tools and be more careful.

Required Equipment and Gear

  • Hedge trimmer
  • 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 fertilizer
  • Bag or other container for grass clippings
  • Duct tape
  • Thick gloves
  • Long pants
  • Thick shoes
  • Chainsaw or long lopper (the Craftsman 12A 16 inch electric chainsaw is going to do the job. If you prefer loppers, the 36 inch Maxforge by Corona Tools is an excellent choice)
  • Long sleeve clothing
  • Eyewear protection
  • Ear protection
  • A long stick

Step 1: Ready the Cutting Tools

A gas hedge trimmer or a powerful electric trimmer is suitable. Battery powered trimmers will work if you only need to cut a bit of pampa grass. If you are going to mainly use a chainsaw or long lopper, an electric hedge trimmer will be enough. Use a gas powered model if it will be the main cutting tool or the pampa grass is thick.

Whichever hedge trimmer you choose, you will also need another cutting tool. Loppers will do as long as it has long handles. The longer the handle, the easier it gets to cut pampa grass. Of course you can always use an electric chainsaw to make the job even easier. These are lighter and less expensive than gas chainsaws and will work fine.

Assuming you chose a gas trimmer and an electric chainsaw, make sure they are ready. Add fuel to the trimmer following the manufacturer instructions. Make sure the chainsaw cord is long enough or if battery powered, is on a full charge.

If you are using loppers, ensure the blades have been sharpened. Pampa grass are tough and will wear out blades quickly. Before using any tool, inspect them carefully.

Step 2: Wear Protective Clothing

Wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. You should also put on work gloves to protect your hands. The gloves should not be too thick you cannot hold the tool properly however.

Long pants and long sleeves are needed to protect yourself since pampa grass is sharp. As you cut, all sorts of materials will start flying around and can scratch your hands, knees and arms. Thus the need for protective clothing.

Eye protection is essential of course. Ear plugs or a similar contraption is necessary as chainsaws are and other power cutting tools are loud.

If you have allergies, a full face mask or shield is ideal. Otherwise eye and ear protection will be enough. If you are using a corded trimmer, make certain the cord is long enough. A better option is to charge the trimmer so you can do away with the cord.

A cordless or battery trimmer is not as powerful as a gas or corded model. But it gives you freedom of movement, and if you use it to supplement a chainsaw, it will work fine.

Step 3: Inspect the Area

Poke the base of the pampa grass with a long stick. Sometimes animals hide in these thick grasses. While you are at it, check the rest of the area for any large rocks, toys, coins or metallic objects. If your chainsaw runs into any of this it can get jammed.

This part is important and must not be neglected. The last thing you need is for a hedge trimmer or the chainsaw to get caught up in a metallic object. These tools are sensitive to those things and can cause damage.

Once the area has been cleared you can start cutting. If you have a lot of tall pampa grass, take note of the ones that you have to cut. This will make it easier to manage especially on a large garden.

Step 4: Cut the Pampa Grass

Tie the leaves that you want to cut with duct tape. This is going to make the process more manageable and it will be easier to gather the clippings.

After the pampa grass has been tied, it is time to cut. You can use a hedge trimmer, long lopper or chainsaw. If you have a powerful trimmer it will cut through the grass easily. Let the blade cut naturally and smoothly. If you run into thick or rough foliage, us the lopper or saw to remove it.

If you are working on 10 foot tall pampa grass, you might need to switch to a chainsaw. Or you can use a lopper to cut off large sections. Some pampa grass form clumps along its sides and you can a hedge trimmer to trim those off. If they get too thick, use the chainsaw.

Whichever method you choose, keep cutting until there is 8 inches of tuft left. Do not burn the tuft so the grass can grow back healthy.

If the pampa grass is only a few feet tall, you may be able to finish this in a day or two. If it is 10 feet, this will take long. Work on one at a time or set a target for how many feet you can cut down per day.

Step 5: Cleaning Up

After you are done cutting, gather the grass clippings in a bag. You can use it as compost or otherwise dispose of it. Apply 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 fertilizer to the tuft left on the ground. This will help the grass regrow.

After each session, clean your hedge trimmer. Remove any grass clippings caught in its blades. You also want to make sure that there is enough fuel in the tank. If you are using a corded model, perform the maintenance recommended in the user manual.

If you notice the trimmer is not performing as well as before, check the engine. The air filter or carburetor might be covered with grass clippings or other debris. Do the same for the chainsaw if you are using one.

When Should You Cut Pampa Grass?

Late winter is the best Tim to cut pampa grass. This is right before any new growth come up. It is the ideal time to ready your cutting tools for the job ahead. If you wait for mid or late spring, new growth will have appeared and make it hard to remove the old grass.

Another benefit of trimming in late winter is you give the grass time to recuperate. After cutting in winter, the grass has time to get ready for spring. If you cut in spring the pampa grass will not have sufficient rest and may not grow back.

As the pampa grows in spring, it can spread rapidly. Have your hedge trimmer to cut shoots that are getting too large. Cutting these before they get out of hand is the best way to manage this invasive plant.

If your pampa grass are healthy enough though, you can cut them in early spring. A powerful trimmer should get the job done and cut the grass to size. Small grass will not be a problem and powerful trimmers can cut thick foliage too. And if that does not work, you can always use a chainsaw.

Another reason to cut pampa grass in spring instead of winter is so you can provide small animals and insects with a place to hide. Birds can also use this to look for insects to eat.