to cut back or not to cut back?

amprice(5)October 10, 2008

New to the Hosta lovers family and the new house has tons (no exageration). How do i get them ready for winter? Some we moved around to new homes to help relieve over crowding around the big old oak trees, do these get cut back to give the roots time to adjust?

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esther_opal

"do these get cut back to give the roots time to adjust?"
amprice

You will if you stay around learn that I look to the natural process to help me understand Hosta Horticulture.

Adjust to what?
Left alone they go dormant, the leaves fall down, are recycled into next years hosta, as they go dormant they are sending food to roots to store for next year.
I don't say this from knowledge BIG BUTT I can't find a reason to interfere with the process, are they still sending food to the roots, don't know when this process stops but I reason as long there is green in the leaves or petioles.

I'm not persuaded, BIB BUTT there are arguments for cleaning up.

It will not make much difference if you choose to cut petioles and "clean up".

PS, I do anything to avoid work!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:47PM
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amprice(5)

adjust to a new location and we split several and passed them onto my father in law and he has already cut the transplanted ones back. I just didn't know if that was the right thing to do.

if it won't hurt them to cut them back after the first hard frost i would rather do it now then in the spring when they are all wet and slimy.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 1:57PM
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esther_opal

"now than in the spring when they are all wet and slimy."

Wet and slimy is decomposing, what would be better food for a hosta than what the hosta just took from the soil to make a hosta, not a bad thing. I can not find a reason to ever cut them off unless you want to. Back to the natural condition, who cuts them back ever.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:42PM
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silly_me(z6 SE NY)

hi --

if you're in a new yard, you'll probably have a better idea in the spring of what method works best for the conditions you have.

personally, by late fall i've pretty much lost the motivation to do much yard work. -- the messy look of the dead/dying leaves doesn't bother me, so i don't do a thing to my hostas and let the leaves turn to compost on their own.

i gather up what ever is left of the old leaves in the spring when i have more enthusiasm and when the new growth is emerging.

in contrast though, my mother always does a major fall clean-up. in her zone (5) and her yard conditions (shadier and wetter than mine), if she doesn't get the dead leaves up before winter, her garden becomes not only the wet slimy mess that you describe, but, as a result, also a MAJOR slug party. the only way for her to stay ahead of the slug invasion is to clean the beds out in the fall. lucky for me, i don't have a severe slug problem, so i don't have those worries.

in general, if leaves are still green, they're still producing food, and so best to leave them alone til they turn.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:11PM
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spiritual_gardner

I'm not new to Hosta, but I would like to get keep fall clean up going (IÂm on a roll!) before billions of leaves ascend on my house and yard. Last year I got horribly behind and spent until December getting things under control.

I have Hosta everywhere, all shapes and colors. From what I've read, they need to die back naturally. Even though I'd like to cut, I'll wait. I spent to much time and money getting them established.

SG

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 6:51AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Cutting them (rather then letting the leaves decompose in place or rather then letting the leaves dry then pulling them off) could increase the chance of spreading disease. If you do cut, be sure to sterilize your cutting tools and hands between each hosta.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 8:27AM
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greenmulberry(5-Iowa City)

"if it won't hurt them to cut them back after the first hard frost i would rather do it now then in the spring when they are all wet and slimy."

amprice, in my experience, there will be no dead slimy leaves in the spring, they fully decompose over the winter and the new leaves will pop up fresh and new.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:26PM
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