How to Care for Perennials
Early October is a great time for fall cleanup and preparation of your perennials for winter and spring. It is also a good time to take inventory and think about what you have planned for next year.
Fall is a good time to divide or remove any perennials that are crowding, spreading into unwanted areas, forming tight clumps with diminished bloom or that have developed a dead space in the center because if the foliage becomes damaged or the plants look misshapen, all of that will be gone when the plants reappear in the spring.
Hostas, iris, daylilies, rudbeckia and ornamental grasses are some examples of perennials that do well with division. If rain is insufficient you should continue watering until a hard freeze occurs especially with newly planted or divided perennials. There is no need to fertilize until spring.
A question we get asked a lot here at Lake Kountry is this: Should you cut back your perennials in the fall or in the spring?
The answer: It depends. Provided you have selected plants that are hardy for your area there really is no wrong way.
You may want to wait until spring to cut back your perennials. Ornamental grasses and sedum provide winter interest while the seed heads of coneflowers, liatris and joe pye weed provide food for birds. Leaving the foliage on the plant or only slightly pruning it can also help protect and insulate the plant from harsh winter weather. The foliage helps to catch and hold the snow which provides natural insulation to the plant.
Pruning and removing all the foliage from your perennials now will save you work in the spring – we all know how busy spring can be! Some people prefer the” cleaned up” look going into winter and may prefer working outdoors in cooler temperatures.
Fall gardening work should also include removing dead annuals and excess fallen leaves and debris, including dead or diseased foliage from your perennial beds so that they do not harbor disease or pests. This also helps prevent rot and mildew.
If you have any other gardening questions just give us a call here at Lake Kountry, Inc. – we’re happy to help! As always, thank you so much for thinking of us! Happy Fall!
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