Special Gift Offer

Get perennials ready for spring

By: Garden Gate staff
As the season dwindles down, garden tasks often seem to increase. But your work doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

get perennials ready for spring

As the season dwindles down, garden tasks often seem to increase. But your work doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are a few things you can still tackle late this fall to make sure your garden is in shape and ready for spring.

REPAIR AND REPLACE TAGS —?Sure, you think you’ll remember the name of that new perennial next spring. But a tag is a big help. Now is the time to check old tags to make sure you can still read them, or put out new tags.

CUT OR LEAVE STANDING? — Research shows that perennials are more likely to survive winter if you don’t cut them off until spring cleanup time. The exceptions are plants that harbor pests, such as peonies with botrytis or iris with borers. Cut the foliage down, and if possible, burn it. Can’t burn in your municipality? Bury the material in the trench with the weeds.

TUCK ‘EM IN FOR THE WINTER — If you live where the ground freezes, a thick blanket of mulch over your perennials is good as an insurance policy. Your objective is not to keep the soil warmer, but to keep it at an even temperature. Wide temperature fluctuations between cold and warm damage roots and often cause winter kill. Once the plants are completely dormant and the ground is beginning to freeze, 4 to 6 in. of straw or crisp oak leaves (don’t chop them up first or they pack down too tightly) will do the trick. Leave this winter mulch in place until the weather warms up in spring. You’ll know it’s about time to remove it when the forsythia starts to bloom.

Read more about this and other stories in the current issue of Garden Gate magazine!

Published: Nov. 24, 2009
  • None
GDT Ad_PhoneCases_zone5

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

GDT Ad_FallGear23_zone300x250

Also in This Newsletter

Garden Gate

Last Week’s Newsletter

November 17, 2009

Wood fence design tips

Fences work hard, keeping pets and kids in the yard or out of the street and letting visitors know where to go and not to go.


The line between wildflower and weed can be narrow. With chicory, what one person considers a lovely blue flower, a neighbor might consider a weed.