Ornamental Grass Questions

Asked August 22, 2016, 1:42 PM EDT

Some blades of my ornamental grass has been turning brown. Is this normal? The grass is on a drip irrigation system. I moved to AZ two years ago and I have not cut back the grass in the winter because I like the full look. Should I be cutting back each year?

Also, what type of ornamental grass is this? It has small pale yellow flowers.

Pima County Arizona

3 Responses

You have an African Iris. There are two different types and yours is Dietes bicolor. Trimming it back is not necessary generally. You should be able to put some gloves on and run your fingers through the clump while pulling gently and most of the brown leaves will come right out. This plant will return if it is cut back--in most cases. Fertilizing twice a year is necessary for this plant and it can be drought tolerant once established, even though it originally comes from along the Nile River. The more sun it get the more flowers although it will do well in part shade. A

Thanks for your very timely response. If I cut the entire plant back to the ground next spring, rather than manually pulling out the dead blades, how long before they will grow back?

It could take the whole summer and you will probably get some dieback. If you do cut it back do it late winter and do not cut into the crown of the plant. Good luck. A