Protecting Your Perennials

August 15, 2011

By Blair Thomas

Caring for your perennials in the cool weather months is key in ensuring healthy buds in the spring. Consider these tips on whether to cut back your perennials:

• Many perennials are better left standing over the winter instead of cutting them down. In addition to offering food and shelter to many birds in the winter, with some hardy perennials, leaving the stems up aids in overwintering because the foliage helps to insulate the plant’s crowns. Chrysanthemums are among the flowers that benefit from being left standing.

• If you are bothered by foliage diseases, cutting back perennials is the best decision for you. Only cut down after the perennials have gone dormant. This is usually after the plants have experienced several hard frosts. Cut the plants down to within two to three inches of the crown.

Source: University of Illinois Extension

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