There's been some good info in the photograph comments so to keep the topic handy for future reference, I've pasted the comments into a separate post.
Andy asked what I am going to do with the cut Vetiver ...
'Short-term stockpile for mulch. I had thought of trying Ruth Stout's system of using hay, substituting the Vetiver I have for the hay I don't have. I will never be able to grow enough Vetiver to make enough hay! So I'm back to just mulching with the Vetiver and it will be simpler to apply when cut into 1-2ft lengths rather than struggling with the 6ft lengths I tried first. When warmer weather returns, I'm hoping to make more Vetiver plants to use as a shade barrier.'
Then Lissa added this: 'I had a wonderful little scythe, just big enough for the hand, that I found invaluable for cutting Vetiver. Bought it from the Yandina Community Garden for something like $10 or $15 but can't find a photo of it on their site. Gloves another necessity due to the bladey nature of the grass.'
And Dave responded: 'From my limited experience I'd attack it in sections with secateurs. My sickle objects as you cut near the roots -- even when sharpened.
And since you need to cut into lengths you may need to rely on secateurs anyway.But then too much cutting gives you RSI.
In New Guinea they fold the stems to shorten them for mulching in veg beds. Traditionally Vetiver is cut back to 250 cm height when harvested as the recovery is faster than shorter cuts.
Next time I harvest I hope to try my electric chainsaw and cut low.
As for digging up some rooted slips, Elaine: don't let the Elaines kill themselves. It would be healthier to grab what you can -- even two or three slips and plant them out for later slip harvest than tackle the creatures you have seeking more plant out stock. Harvest slips from them when you get 12-15 fresh stems.'
I used a pair of hedge shears, bought originally from Aldi and when sharp do a wonderful job, saving RSI I could get from using secateurs. Yes, gloves would be useful as would long sleeves. Tying the string meant I couldn't wear gloves so have some nicks to show for my effort.
I've left almost a metre of stems so expect the plants to grow back well when they feel like growing again.
As for slips or whatever ... I was using the swollen nodes of the flowering stems. If I have understood the terminology correctly, they are the 'tillers'. Anyway I'm happy to know otherwise, I have found the words used in the literature are confusing. I tried before winter but guess that it was not warm enough for the plants to start rooting and I will try again around September. No I won't be trying to dig up any stems! That is one job too tough for we old boilers.
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