The dead of winter is a time to breathe abundant life into a property and set the stage for a spring revival. And much like the New Year, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

During dormancy, many plants like perennials, grasses, and rose bushes appear lifeless while enduring colder weather that halts growth. Even though the plants are alive, crippled branches and dead stalks of grass are often unsightly to a property’s landscape.

For the plants to return to their splendor in the spring, a winter cleanup is recommended. Cutting back perennials, culling grasses, trimming trees, and performing major plant reductions should get under way in late January or early February with a goal of completion before the first of April.

Toss in a little fresh mulch and add some permanent greenery where necessary and the property is transformed from that unattractive brown, dead look to a well-maintained, healthy landscape.

A few simple steps can help ready the landscape for the spring blush.

Cull the Grasses

Like perennials, a lot of ornamental grasses sustain damage in the winter. Tops of Fountain, Banana Boat, Monkey, and Pampas grasses, for example, turn brown and dead material needs to be removed. If left unattended, new growth will be intermixed with the dead material and the grass won’t look as healthy. By culling the brown stalks, new growth fills the grass and the plant looks much more attractive throughout the year.

Rather than cherry-picking the dead stalks, cull the grass by bunching tightly tying with string. Cut smaller grass plants with hedge clippers or loppers about a foot from the ground. This will aid in cleanup plus give the grass a crisp, manicured look heading into spring. This is a particularly good technique for trimming back larger grasses, like Pampas, which need to be cut back to 2-3 feet, depending on size.

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