I have a few clumps of umbrella grass that are getting very overgrown.
They are planted at the edge of my court yard (pictures below). I live in Houston TX.

This is my first house and I inherited a fantastic landscape in the courtyard, but I'm still trying to figure out how to take care of all these plants. I browsed through dave's garden's entry on the umbrella plant but I can't seem to find any direction on how I'm supposed to control the growth of this grass.

From the looks of some of the posts, it seems like even if I completely cut down all the grass at the stalks, the roots should allow it to regrow. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to kill/get rid the grass, i'm just trying to keep them from growing so big (the bigger clumps are 6 feet tall and have a ground covering diameter even wider, taking up all the walk space.

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1 Answer 1


This is Cyperus alternifolius, so not really a grass at all. What you're trying to do will probably be accomplished best by division.

This is best done in winter in your area, because there'll be a good deal less heat stress on the plants. I would use a sharp spade. The easiest way would be to pry up the entire clump, and then cut out sections that are at least 8" in diameter. Cut about half the leaves from each segment, taking out the longest ones first, back to the plant crown. Replant as soon as possible, spacing as desired. Water very, very well for a long time. Do not let the starts dry out. Any leftover plants can be given away or disposed of.

You can also leave the clump in the ground, and dig out pieces from around the clump you wish to leave. This is harder, but leaves a plant with an established root system. This will leave a trench around the plant, which will need to be backfilled with good topsoil. Remember to keep the plant watered.

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    Thanks for the detailed answer. Both of these methods would leave some pretty tall stalks left. Is there a way to reduce the height of the plants and keep them about 2-3 feet tall?
    – anon
    Sep 10, 2014 at 5:25
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    @ton.yeung Initially, you can remove the longest ones back to the ground, and leave the shorter ones, which may be longer than 3'. There isn't any way to 'keep' them that size, but the division method which takes the entire plant up will cause the new growth after replanting to be shorter, so if you dig up, resize the crown, and replant every year or two, the maximum eight will be drastically lowered.
    – J. Musser
    Sep 10, 2014 at 10:06

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