Mid-Atlantic

October, 2012
Regional Report

Keep Cutting Back Dead Perennial Foliage

As astilbes, daylilies, hostas, phlox, coreopsis, rudbeckia and other perennials head into dormancy, their leaves will turn brown. Clip off the dead stalks and foliage. Remember, perennial roots and crowns will stay alive all winter and will regrow come spring.

Remove Fallen Leaves from the Garden

Yes, leaves make excellent compost. But it's best not to leave them in a thick layer on top of our perennials though. Whole leaves covering overwintering perennials can become a moist mat that smothers plants and hosts unwelcome fungi and insects. Gently rake leaves off garden beds before they accumulate.

Save and Use Your Leaves

Rake leaves into piles in discreet, out-of-sight spots in your yard, such as behind shrubs,trees, the garage or shed or next to a boundary fence. Let the leaves break down over the winter; if you shred the leaves with your mower first they'll decompose more quickly. Come spring, you'll have leaf mold ready to use as a topdressing around roses, perennials, shrubs, and trees.

Cut Back Overgrown Sweet Autumn Clematis

Though its white flowers are beautiful in bloom, the sweet autumn clematis vine often spreads too far and wide. Prune back rampant vines that are blanketing trees, azaleas, or other shrubs. Sweet autumn clematis reduces sunlight and air to the plants it covers. Clip stems
and allow the vine stems to wilt before pulling them away.

Don't Prune or Fertilize Roses

Resist the urge to prune and fertilize roses now. Rose pruning is best done in late winter, around February, before the buds plump. It is okay is to clip off brown, dead canes anytime.

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