Heirloom Expert: Fall Pruning

Is it better to prune perennials and the rest of the flower gardens in the fall or spring?


| Fall 2014


I’ve got a gardening dispute going with my wife. She says cut everything down in the perennial flower garden at the end of the season, but I’ve heard to leave the plants alone until spring. Who’s right? Also, what should I do with my annuals and vegetables after the frost hits?

Nothing is scarier than the husband versus wife question! Let me start by saying there are a hundred different ways to do every garden job and if you find one that works for you, then it’s the right one. So in a way you’re both right (I’m a diplomat).

Now for the real answer, I leave all my perennials up at the end of the season. They provide food for the birds and other wildlife and provide habitat for beneficial insects. In my garden they get cut to the ground in late spring, usually the end of April.

If your wife can’t stand the way it looks, do yourself a favor and cut it all down (I’ve been married 32 years). You can feed the birds and leave another area wild for the good bugs, and now you can live in harmony. In the vegetable garden, everything which is not diseased goes to the compost pile. I like to clean up that garden so no bad bugs or diseases over winter. The same is true with most annuals. All I leave is what I think might self-sow. All those areas are put to bed with a nice layer of compost and some mulch to keep it in place all winter . . .









mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265