A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring Cleanup...if only for one day

We are going to have some warmer weather tomorrow and I am planning to go outside and do a few things. I thought I would check on the internet about Spring cleanup. I usually clean up my yard pretty well in the fall, so I can go out and start right in when the first nice weather starts. This list of things that should be pruned in the Spring...surprised me. I guess I should have just left things alone...you learn everyday, don't you? I was especially thinking about my Russian Sage. I checked it today and it is awake. It is covered with tiny little buds of leaves just waiting.

I know that we will have quite a bit of winter left, but it will be nice to just get out and clean up a bit. Pick up branches and twigs and cut back a few things. Here is the list...it is quite long, but I wanted to include all that I found.

The following list is a recommendation of plants that are best pruned in spring. Any plant that is diseased, infested, or otherwise in poor condition, should be pruned in the fall.

Perennial Plants to Prune in the Spring: From the internet

Artemisia Most Artemisia don’t like being pruned in the fall. The growth that results is too tender to survive the winter and the dieback is often enough to kill the whole plant. Clean in early spring.

Asters Fall blooming asters have generally been pinched and forced several times throughout the growing season. Once they are finally allowed to bloom, they appreciate being left alone to recuperate, until spring.

Astilbe Astilbe don’t require much maintenance. Fall clean-up is unnecessary and may weaken the plant’s tolerance for cold. Minimal spring clean-up is required.

Balloon Flower If pruned for sturdiness, Balloon flower blooms late in the season and remains attractive until frost. Since it is late emerging in the spring, it helps to leave the old foliage as a marker.

Black-eyed Susan Although not particularly attractive in winter, the seed heads will feed the birds.

Butterfly Bush To lessen winter kill, wait for signs of green at the base and then cut back to 6 - 10 inches.

Campanula Most campanulas get sheared back at some point during the summer, to clean up ugly or damaged foliage and encourage another flush of blooming. Fresh basal foliage will result and should be left through winter, so as not to encourage more tender growth in the fall.

Cardinal Flower Although Cardinal Flower likes moist soil, it doesn’t like sitting in cold, wet soil all winter. Leaving the foliage and flower stems in tact protects Cardinal Flower from some of the ravages of winter, so hold off clean-up until spring. At that point, you can trim the damaged areas or simply cut back to the ground.

Coral Bells Heuchera are prone to heaving in soils that freeze and thaw. Leaving the foliage in tact helps to mulch the plants through winter.

Delphinium If you’re lucky enough to grow Delphiniums as perennials, remove the flower stalks, but allow the foliage to remain until spring.

Dianthus Most Dianthus can remain somewhat evergreen throughout the winter and nothing is gained by cutting back in the fall. They will still need some clean-up in the spring.
Foxglove, Since perennial Foxgloves are usually pruned back after flowering and produce a rosette of basal growth, nothing more is needed until a light cleaning in spring. Fringed Leaf Bleeding HeartAlthough the crowns like to be high enough in the soil to be protected from dampness, the foliage is slight enough to leave for the winter and almost disappears by spring. Gas PlantThe seed heads of the Gas Plant can look attractive well into fall, but the real reason to cut back in early spring is that the sap that irritates many gardener’s skin is not as pronounced during the plant’s dormant stage.

Gayfeather Liatris is another plant that is more sensitive to cool, wet soil than to cold temperatures. When left standing over winter, the seed heads provide food for the birds and may provide some self-seeding, to make up for any plants that don’t survive.

Geum Geum can remain semi-evergreen throughout winter, so no fall pruning is necessary, especially if you’ve been deadheading and cleaning up dead leaves during the growing season. Globe Thistle Much like coneflowers, Echinops will respond well to a pruning in July, producing more flowers and sturdier plants that will stand for the winter and feed the birds. The plant’s winter survival seems improved if not cut back hard in the fall.

Goldenrod The new hybrid goldenrods don’t seed or spread all over the garden and can be left standing for winter interest. Study clumpers, like ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Golden Fleece’, will remain upright through spring. The old-fashioned species Solidago should be cut in fall, to avoid invasiveness.

Heartleaf BergeniaThe shiny round leaves can remain evergreen in mild winters and even cold damaged leaves can remain an attractive bronze color. Clean-up in spring, only as needed.

Hosta Although Hosta foliage gets ugly over winter, some Hosta varieties can be damaged by spring frosts and benefit from the protection of the collapsed foliage.

Joe-Pye WeedWhen a plant is bred from a common weed, you can usually assume that it doesn’t need much care to survive.

Joe-Pye will bloom well into the fall and then produce fluffy seed heads. You can cut it back if you choose, but it’s not necessary to the plant’s survival.

Lady’s Mantle Lady’s Mantle doesn’t really like to be sheared back frequently. Occasional shearing or selective deleafing may be necessary because of sun scorch, but Lady’s Mantle will over winter better if left in tact and cleaned up in the spring.

Lamb’s Ear There’s no point in trying to clean up Lamb’s Ear for the winter. Let it be and remove winter damage when the leaves perk up in the spring.

Lavender Many areas have a hard time over-wintering lavender. The problem is more often moisture than cold, but cold is a factor. Don’t prune lavender late in the season, as new growth is extremely cold sensitive. Wait until new growth appears in the spring before removing winter die back.
Lupine are temperamental, short-lived perennials and they do not enjoy winter. Leave the foliage on for protection and hope for the best come spring.

Mums Leave the foliage in tact to protect the plant’s crown. All the better to let the flowers bloom well into the fall.

Oriental Poppy Poppies appear to be disappearing or declining after the blooms fade. However a new flush of foliage should emerge and can be left on the plants over winter, to act as a mulch.

Pincushion Flower You can remove the old flower stems, but this plant is so temperamental, leaving the old foliage may be the only way you will know where the plant was, come spring. In warmer areas, where it is hardier, the foliage may be evergreen.

Purple Coneflowers Coneflowers don’t look terribly attractive in winter, but they do attract and feed birds. If you’d like both birds and aesthetics, you can always prune your coneflowers in July and get squat, sturdy plants that will provide seed and remain standing.
Red-Hot Poker You can trim back the foliage as it begins to decline, but don’t cut it back entirely. The crown is very sensitive to cold and leaving a clump of foliage will help protect it. Trimming by ½ will keep the foliage from completely flopping over and retaining too much moisture around the crown.
Russian Sage Like its cousin Lavender, Perovskia doesn’t like to be trimmed back in the fall, because it’s tender growth is too sensitive to cold. Wait until new growth appears in the spring and then cut back to about 6 - 8". If the only new growth is from the base of the plant, the entire top woody section has died back and it can be pruned to the ground.

Sedum Many of the tall Sedums can remain attractive throughout the winter, even holding caps of snow on their flowerheads. ‘Autumn Joy’, in particular, holds up very well. The basal foliage appears very early in spring, so Sedum can be one of the first plants you prune in the spring. Tickseed Like Chelone, most coreopsis seem to fare better if allowed to stand during the winter and cleaned-up in the spring.



Elenka said...

THANKS for the great info.

Lynn said...

Wonderful and very useful information, thanks!!!
I really had to fight not going outside on Sat. and Sun. to clean things up in the warm weather, but I knew I needed to leave things alone for a while!!

Judy said...

Great post, Balisha, and very informative. I went to town yesterday and bought more seeds and two new pots. I am trying to hurry spring along! I have a stash in the garage to start me off. Planned to pick up sticks this morning but it is raining here. I am going to have some sun on one side of my house this year from cutting down a big tree in the ice storm. I am glad it is gone. Now I can get some sun plants for that side.

Balisha said...

You're all welcome. I am just going to pick up branches and check things out. Tomorrow will be cold again and I don't want to uncover my babies.

One Woman's Journey said...

Thank you so very much for your kind comment on by journal.
I relate to all you are doing.
I am continuing with planning on relocating to my country property and will have so much cleanup.
I am turning the corner healthwise.
I have so much in common with you.

Balisha said...

Hello One Woman,
Thanks for reading and commenting. Your plans for the country move sound like something that I may have liked to do. I hope you keep us informed about it.
I have read A Book of Hours, by Thomas Merton.It is arranged as prayers to be read at different times of the day.