do i cut the dead foliage back? help!

marissajude(Zone 6 Connecticut)January 20, 2008


i am fairly new to gardening. i bought a house in haddam, ct (zone 6) and it has a lovely wildflower/cottage garden along an old fence. some flower varieties in it are black eyed susan, coneflower, russian sage, monkshood, hyssop, delphinium, bellflower, and foxglove. since everything died back in the fall i left the dead foliage standing, afraid of what to do, and unsure of what the previous owner did. people have told me this is okay as it adds winter interest. my question is, what happens in the spring? do i leave all the dead stuff or do i trim it back? and if i do trim it back, do how low do i go? and in what month does this take place? i really want all of these plants to survive so that i can keep this beautiful garden for years to come. any advice would be greatly appreciated! thanks!


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Yes, just before spring before the flowers come out of dormancy them cut back. Next year you might want to cut back after they are done blooming. Where I live I can do it pretty much whenever I want.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 8:00PM
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You will probably want to dead-head and/or trim back in Fall any types which reseed heavily. Things as the black-eyed-Susan and coneflowers. If these are left, you may have an overabundance of volunteers.

Many perennial plants are trimmed close to the ground line. If there are leaves which survive the winter, then just trim out the dead flowering stalks. Damaged foliage can be trimmed as new foliage takes over.

The Russian sage might be pruned more for shape and just have dead material cut away. That might be best done in Spring. I don't trim mine to the ground. Will cut back hard some branches if they mess up the overall shape.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 1:13PM
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