Tiptoe into Spring garden cleanup

Thu. Mar. 29, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Tiptoe into Spring garden cleanup

As we tiptoe into Spring, we’re gingerly getting into our gardens, cutting back the leftovers from winter.  I’m talking about me.. And my cold foray into outdoor clean-up of my perennial grasses and flowers I left up. I do say tip toe for a couple of reasons…  soggy, muddy soil, which compacts and, frankly, it hasn’t been that warm!

If you’re not trudging through snow and your perennials aren’t laying over frozen to the ground, step lightly and start pruning.  I cut back my ornamentals grasses to about 3 inches from the ground.  The point is to leave a point that might deter rabbits from coming in and nibbling the new growth before it has a chance!

Sedum spring 2018

If you have a lot of grasses, one way to cut them back is to tie the grass plant together with string and use electric pruners to make it quick work. I have pictures on garden bite dot com.   Loppers work pretty well too. Spring cut back opens up the crown of the plant to rain and sunlight, allowing it to green up faster. Grass tops decompose quickly in the compost pile, if necessary cut the taller stems into half or 1/3 to fit into your pile.

grass ready for trimming

By the way, last year this duty was done already 2 weeks ago!

Using loppers to cut back ornamental grass

If you had issues with fungal disease last year, clean up the foliage as best as possible.  I’ve got lots of spring work for my Butterfly garden I installed last season.  I left all of it up, it’s on the corner of my property.

Speaking of that, the City plows took out about 6 inches of lawn for about 30 feet on one side.  Honestly, that grass was really just weeds anyway!  If you had that problem, you can contact your city and see if they’ll give you some grass seed and/or replant for you.