There is some debate as to whether perennial plants should be cut back to ground level after they have finished flowering or left standing through the winter to provide both a visible structure and food for the birds. To complicate matters further there are some plants that should be cut back in the fall and others that should be left until spring as Amanda explains in her article which I found on the American Meadows website.

As much as garden maintenance can be considered one of the less glamorous aspects of our beloved pastime, it can go quicker than you?d think if you gather all of your information in one place. The best news is a handful of perennials and wildflowers shouldn?t be cut back until the early spring, which helps distribute your garden maintenance between the fall and spring.
We?ve compiled a list of perennials and wildflowers with directions on when and how far to cut them back. If you don’t see information on a variety you have in your garden, leave a comment below and we?ll add it for you.

Garden Maintenance: Perennials To Cut Back In The Fall

There are quite a few perennials that should be cut back in fall, many of which are prone to disease and require as much air circulation as possible in the garden bed.
Although Butterfly Weed should be cut back in the early spring, remove seed pods in the late fall if you don?t want it to self-seed. Learn how in our blog.
Yarrow can be cut back to about 1? from the ground in the late fall. Again, make sure to remove all debris, weeds and old much from around the plant.

garden maintenance, sedum and ornamental grasses
Bearded Iris should be cut back to 4-5″, while Sedum and Echinacea should be left through the winter. Once you’ve cut everything back, rake the garden beds to remove debris.

Peonies should be cut back to the ground in the late fall as new growth emerges from the base of the plant in the spring.

It?s worth it to own a nice pair of pruners, or to sharpen your set before cutting back in the fall or spring. It makes things go much quicker (and easier)!

Coreopsis should be cut back in late fall to about 6-8?, which helps the plant protect its crowns through the winter.
To avoid mildew, cut Bee Balm back to the ground in the fall, remove old stems and clean up mulch to give plants the best air circulation through the winter months.

See more at American Meadows


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