I am assuming you mean to cut back by the haircut method, as Margaret calls it here. If it is something tough like a grass, many people use an electric hedge trimmer. For softer stems I use either hedge shears or grass clippers. For both of those tools it is sometimes necessary to grab the clump you are cutting in one hand and pull up while cutting with the other.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.