One more question-cutting back

tjsangel(z5 OH)August 5, 2006

The foliage on my daylilies isnt looking that great right now. Would it harm the plant to cut the leaves back for fall? Does it help the daylily in any way? Thank you!


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Cut away, won't hurt them. I have even heard of people mowing them down after bloom (now that's extreme!). If you going to cut the foliage back, I would do so now as the foliage will grow back, therefore, when it does freeze there will be foliage around the plant for protection during the winter. I cut back this time of the year and have never had ill affects from doing so. I am also zone 5 in OH.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 11:20AM
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flower_lover5(z6 IL)

:) I used to do that years ago - take a lawn mower to my old daylily bed when it started looking bad - and the iris bed, too. Desperate times call for desperate measures.......LOL
I had to chuckle when I read that :)
But, of course, I wouldn't recommend it!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 11:34AM
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does cutting them back make them increase faster? hey it doesn't hurt to ask?


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 12:00PM
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flower_lover5(z6 IL)

No Dot. Actually, (and this can be a little controversial), cutting back GREEN foliage takes away the plant's ability to produce food (until new leaves grow out), and makes them expend more energy to grow those new leaves. But if all the leaves are totally ratty-looking I would do it anyway.
But it doesn't encourage the plant to produce new fans.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 12:12PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Tammy I don't think your answer is controversial but true. If you cut anything green and growing back during the growing season, it has to expend more energy to send up fans to feed itself than if left uncut. If it's green, it is supplying food to itself.

You can pull the brown dead stuff out of the clump and remove the spent scapes. This will neaten up the clump, leave the valuable foliage to continue feeding so energy can go into increase, not sustaining itself. Cutting them back definitely does not encourage increase.

I know many people cut their foliage back in late fall (I do) rather than leave the foliage to act as a mulch. Leaving the long foliage will harbor the leaf streak fungus, bulb mites (which might be the cause of spring sickness) and a few other nasties. You have given everything a nice snug home for the winter.

If you live in a northern area and feel your daylily needs mulch for the winter to survive, then put a couple inches of mulch over the crown AFTER a hard freeze and you are truly into winter. In early spring, remove the mulch from the crowns so you don't encourage the clump to hold too much moisture in the crowns during early spring rains. Heavy moisture trapped in the crowns is usually the culprit for winter loss instead of what people call crown rot.

OR, do as you wish - they are daylilies and usually survive regardless of what we do to them. My best growing clump this past spring was one I had heaved over the fence where it spent the entire winter, laying on it's side, multiplying like crazy this spring, roots still exposed.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 1:50PM
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I just received a bunch of daylilies from a wonderful kind soul who was thinning hers out...and I need to get them planted TODAY!!! some of the leaves have yellowed and she mentioned cutting them before planting them again...In a "fan" shape....IF there is still green etc. would it be any better at this point to just remove the dead leaves and put them in the ground as is? or is it really better to cut them back now? she mentioned to cut back to about 6 inches? Also, would this apply to iris' as well? I'm pretty sure that all of these have already bloomed, but I can see some blooms still on the plants...HELP :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:13AM
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I would cut the leaves back very short...6 inches or less. This will reduce stress on the plant and help it to establish a good root system. Water them in really well. Then stop watering the plant until you see green growth (should only take a couple of days). Then resume your regular watering schedule. Good luck -

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 12:32PM
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