Autumn is the perfect time of year to clean up your perennial garden for next spring. Most varieties of perennials can be left alone during the fall clean-up, especially species that have stunning seed heads and flower stalks. These species provide food for wildlife throughout the colder seasons and a dramatic landscape for your home and garden. Even though all plants require different care, here are some general guidelines to help you this fall.
Not sure where to start? Check out 9 ways to get outside and get things done this autumn for some helpful hints and inspiration!
Cone Flower, Lamb’s Ear, Yarrow
Perennials that die back to the soils surface and go dormant in winter are herbaceous. These perennials can be cut to two inches above the ground, removing leaves and stems. Any of these plants that are attractive, or add interest to the landscape, can be left in place and pruned in spring, just before new growth begins.
Woody shrubs are perennials that are small or medium, woody bushes with multiple stems. In autumn, you can lightly prune branches and shape your shrubs as desired. Be careful not to over prune your shrubs during colder weather; cutting too much can weaken the plant. It is best not to prune spring flowering shrubs in the autumn as it can affect spring blooms.
Ornamental Grasses are a large, and varied family of perennials that provide four seasons of horticultural interest. Leave all ornamental grasses through winter. In spring, before the plant leafs out, cut back the grass to 2-3 inches above the ground.
Perennial vines have woody stems and annual vegetation that dies back during winter. These vines should be lightly trimmed, removing dead annual vines entirely. The major pruning and shaping of perennial vines should be left until spring.
Annuals & Vegetables
When they are brown, cut them down. Once the production of your garden begins to shut down in early autumn you can begin to pull up any dead plants from your annual and vegetable gardens. Later in the season, after the hard frost, all of the annuals will be withered and brown; and can easily be removed. Make sure to compost all of your dead and brown annuals and perennials to give back to the garden next year.
Your turn! If there is anything you would like to share about fall plant care, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve got!