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Can I tidy up and cut back now?

I live in Kent and it is now warmer. Is it too early to cut back all the dead foliage / perennials? We do like to garden with wildlife in mind. Is it ok to move it all to a pile (we don’t have a compost heap, only a bin / barrel). 

Posts

  • Ann85Ann85 Posts: 31
    Also, similar, I have verbena bonariensis which are sprouting new leaves about a foot from the base. When I cut back, should I really cut them off by going right down to the base? Thanks! 
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,698
    Yes it's time to tidy up perennials before they start growing again as it makes it more difficult when new growth has formed. Some people do it in the autumn and others prefer to do it in the spring. 
    Have you got space in your bin or barrel for the trimmings Ann85? or space to make compost heap?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,030
    If you have new growth showing, then yes - you can certainly take it off.
    For anything a bit less hardy, or with no new greenery showing yet, it's worth leaving some on for now.  :)
    I sometimes take part of the dead stuff off, as it can actually be a problem in the wind. It can uproots plants depending on whereabouts they are. Otherwise, I only take it off on the hardy plants that have growth, but it's usually too early at this time of year for that. The mild winter has meant there's a couple of things showing though.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Ann85Ann85 Posts: 31
    Fairygirl said:
    If you have new growth showing, then yes - you can certainly take it off.
    For anything a bit less hardy, or with no new greenery showing yet, it's worth leaving some on for now.  :)
    I sometimes take part of the dead stuff off, as it can actually be a problem in the wind. It can uproots plants depending on whereabouts they are. Otherwise, I only take it off on the hardy plants that have growth, but it's usually too early at this time of year for that. The mild winter has meant there's a couple of things showing though.
    Thank you, yes it has been a milder winter so lots of growth! Thanks for advice! I’ll take it plant by plant x
  • Ann85Ann85 Posts: 31
    Uff said:
    Yes it's time to tidy up perennials before they start growing again as it makes it more difficult when new growth has formed. Some people do it in the autumn and others prefer to do it in the spring. 
    Have you got space in your bin or barrel for the trimmings Ann85? or space to make compost heap?
    Uff said:
    Yes it's time to tidy up perennials before they start growing again as it makes it more difficult when new growth has formed. Some people do it in the autumn and others prefer to do it in the spring. 
    Have you got space in your bin or barrel for the trimmings Ann85? or space to make compost heap?
    Yes I can put some in there but was worried about over-wintering bugs etc? Because I think many of the plants are ready to have the dead stuff removed but it hadn’t been that warm for long for insects to wake up? x
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,698
    I think the insects will take care of themselves Ann85. If there are holes or spaces for them to get out they will be fine. Four posts and some wire netting would make you a makeshift compost heap and that would then introduce new insects and worms.  
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,547
    You can certainly leave the cuttings in a plle for a day or so just to put your mind at rest (a bit like removing algae from a pond). I have come across ladybirds in old sedum heads , l usually try and manoeuvre them near to another plant and a new home.
    Re the Verbena bonariensis, l cut back to the base, but others may do it differently. Sometimes the lowest growth maybe further up the stem, if that makes sense.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,030
    I missed the post about V.bon. I don't cut mine back until much later. It largely depends on your location and climate though. I've never cut them back to the base though.

    The bits that get cut off are good for cuttings. I don't often have them surviving winter, so it's an easy way of having back up for the following year. I keep them protected if they're still small by mid autumn.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Ann85Ann85 Posts: 31
    Thanks for your help, a big pile of stems and sticks for the bugs to escape from. I cut some verbena right down to ground where totally new shoots had started, and others I cut to the lowest shoot if the stem looked strong x
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,030
    Hopefully they'll all be fine @Ann85 :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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