Preparing Perennials for Winter

 
 Preparing perennials for winter
 

The joy of perennials is that they come back year after year. But without proper winter care, many perennials will not return in the spring.

 

You can save money, time, and trouble by taking a few easy steps to protect your perennials. While most perennials are cut down for winter, many can be left up to enjoy the effect of their drying leaves. These include most ornamental grasses: Sedum 'Autumn Joy,' black-eyed Susan, false indigo, globe thistle, pinks, sea holly, and yucca, to name a few.


You will need to choose your mulch carefully. Straw is effective and inexpensive, but tends to scatter seeds and greatly increases weeding chores the following spring. Wood chips are excellent but can be expensive in the quantity needed. Pine needles are ideal, but tend to be available only in certain regions. Chopped autumn leaves are inexpensive and readily available just by running over them with your mower, however they tend to blow away in strong winds.

 

Preparation

 

• Evaluate the local climate in your area as that will determine how best  to protect your flowers during the cold
   months of winter.

 

Safety

 

• Make sure you wear gloves for any landscaping project to protect yourhands from blisters and plants that
   have thorns.

 

Savings

 

• Tackling landscaping projects yourself is a great way to save money.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:

MATERIALS:

 


Step 1:

After the perennials have been felled by frost, cut them back to just a few inches above the ground.  An exception is with  perennials that you want to leave for winter interest. Add any healthy plant material to the compost heap:  diseased foliage should be put in the trash.

Step 2:

Clean up any remaining plant debris. Old foliage tends to harbor plants and disease for the winter.  Clear out space around the base of the perennials.

Step 3:

Apply 4 to 8 inches of lightweight mulch. Simply spread with your hands, covering some plants completely if needed. You can avoid mulching plants that are very hardy in your area and cover those plants that are marginally hardy with a little mulch. In the spring, when the perennials start to send out new growth, gently rake away the winter mulch and add to the compost pile.