Homegrown Notions: Fall Cleanup
Tips And Advice On Cleaning Flower Beds, Landscaping, and More!
by Beth Cook, Mammoth Cave Transplants:
Winter will be here before we know it. Leaves are starting to fall and some of our flowers are becoming a little spent. Now is this time we need to start cleaning up flower beds and trimming or cutting back perennials.
You'll want to start by cleaning up dead plants and debris from your gardens. It's very important to remove any plants that had any diseases. They can carry over from one year to the next, like spores that causes blight on tomatoes. Another cleanup that needs to be done is trimming or cutting back perennials and also dividing them.
Perennials should be cut to within a half-inch to an inch off the ground, the bed raked of all debris, and then covered with mulch for protection during the winter. If crowding is visible in your perennials, use that old rule-of-thumb: lift and divide. Most gardeners are hesitant to divide because they think “more is better” which is far from the truth. Crowding equates to smaller plants and flowers. On average, it’s best to divide every three years, but for the more rapid growing perennials, it can be done sooner. It's best to be done on a case by case basis when you start noticing a plant's decline. Watch for less blooms and spindly stems.
Divide spring-blooming plants such as iris, brunnera, dianthus, lamium, and primrose, and later bloomers like black-eyed susan, geraniums, daylilies, hostas, coneflowers, and yarrows.
Tall grasses may also be cut back now or, if you wish and want to provide a habitat and food for wildlife, left until spring; just make sure to cut them back in the spring before any new growth has started, otherwise you’ll be cutting off new green growth in the process and no one want square tips on their grasses.
So you better get started! Lot’s of cleanup to do before next spring gets here!
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