Afraid to remove leaves!!

valtorrez(6b)March 17, 2012

It has been in the 80's all week and will be in 70's/ 80's all next week. I started reading post about hostas coming up early and went outside and pushed back some of my leave and found quite a few of mine coming up. Typically this does not happen until April. Last year we still got snow in April. Is anyone waiting to remove leaves until April? I still fear it might get cold again.

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I cleaned my beds over a week ago here in zone 5 . Things are going to come up when they want to so you just have to be ready with empty boxes, pots and anything else you can use to cover up any leafed out hosta in the event we get an overnight freeze. The problem with leaving things covered as they start growing is that the fall leaves support the growth while shading it making it weak. When you remove that support the plants can sometimes be too weak underneath to support itself. Old leaves can also sometimes act as a noose around plant growth keeping it from unfurling. Many people clean their beds in the fall to avoid potential pest problems from carrying over in the Spring.

Just keep an eye on the overnight weather forecasts and be ready to cover things.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:43AM
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bernd ny zone5

You do not indicate in which zone you live. In my zone 5 I have removed most of the leaves, except at the fence. If you do not remove leaves, you will not know if mouse/vole activity is going on underneath, and you will not fight that.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:44AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the hosta will come up.. right thru the leaves..

the leaves are keeping the soil cool .... retarding early growth..

dont know where you are.. but i would leave them... pun intended..


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I live in ST. louis a warmer zone than you guys.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:08AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


the hosta will come up right thru the leaves ...

i suppose you clean your house also ... a true gardeners wouldnt.. lol

if you are all retentive about cleaning your garden.. then go clean your garden.. at that point its about your need to clean.. whether or not the leaves should stay or go ..

and dont get me wrong.. its your garden.. do whatever makes you happy ...


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Well, I've been inclined to leave my leaves, because I'm not a retentive gardener OR house keeper. But my DH who returned Thursday sort of disappeared today, and when I found him, he was in the Back Forty, cleaning away at my leaf-covered beds. He said it looked like I had "too much to do."

So we are different kinds of gardeners, he likes it neat and trimmed, and I like it au naturele and deeply mulched. Of course, he has not spent a summer down here since we married, always gone back north, and he does not realize that my leaf cover is quite beneficial to the plants. We shall have to work out a compromise, where he can have the clean grass look for the lawn, and I can have my deep mulch look for the planted areas.

Different strokes for different folks, I know. It is hard to live with a compulsive busy body who thinks I should appreciate what is done to "help" me. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:45PM
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bernd ny zone5

I like it also clean, but in a garden it is simply hygiene. Removing hosta amd tree leaves has a lot of advantages. Diseases might be in the hosta leaves, like nematodes. Under the leaves the voles or mice might be active already, the voles eating the roots of your hostas and you can not see that with leaves on top. Leaves are a convenient place for slugs to hide under and lay their eggs. I removed leaves last fall, shredding tree leaves with a lawn mower and hand-held (blower-) vacuum and placing them into my compost bins.
Now I still need to remove some leaves blown into my yard over winter.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:57AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I like to "neaten up" my hosta beds,but up to a point! I have a woodland garden,and it gets downright like working yourself to death,to keep them cleaned out. t This year,I am letting the big ones up the hill from the path go it on their own. The closer to the path will get cleaned,but it's a slow process,due to the trillions of leaves that fall every year! Phil

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 3:08PM
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