Do the clean-up twist
Have lots of cutting back to do this fall? Here’s a nifty way to make it go a lot faster. When you cut down a multi-stemmed perennial or large clumps of foliage like that of the Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) at left, don’t go after each stem or leaf individually. Instead, grab several stems together in a bundle, and give them a twist. This way, you’ll be able to cut through all of them at once, and you’ll conveniently have all the stems gathered in your hand — no need to pick scattered plant pieces up from the ground.
There are lots of perennials that benefit from a fall clean-up, and almost all of them can be twisted to make the process run smoother. Here are a few examples:
Bee balm Monarda hybrids
If your plant has a terrible case of powdery mildew, cut it back to the ground after blooms have faded.Columbine Aquilegia spp. and hybrids
Remove faded foliage to keep leafminers or other pests from overwintering in your garden.Hosta Hosta hybrids
Cut back to keep large foliage from forming a mat over the garden in winter.Peony Paeonia lactiflora and hybrids
After a killing frost, cut back your peony to within a few inches of the ground to remove diseased foliage.Tall garden phlox Phlox paniculata
If your plant has powdery mildew, cut it back to the ground after blooms have faded.