shutterstock_361237688Nearly all gardeners get stoked when spring approaches. Finally, the weather is just right to not only enjoy outdoor activities, but it is also perfect for gardening.  As you prepare to enjoy the afternoon on your patio or deck, make sure your garden is ready as well.

When is the best time?

While there really isn’t much of a rush to get to work on your perennials, dealing with wet clay soil can be quite annoying. You are better off waiting until the soil has dried up. This ensures you don’t end up with soil compaction, which will cause problems for your growing plants.

Be careful walking within the borders. If done at the wrong time, you can accidentally harm the unseen tops of the bulbs. You can get crafty, and put down some plywood to walk on, and avoid this issue altogether.

How to decide which perennials to cut back

There are four different types of perennial development patterns your should consider:


These do not require much work, and little-to-no cutting back is necessary. Once April arrives and you notice the plant is still green with no issues, there is nothing for you to do. However, if you see a couple of brown leaves, just trim them back. Certain types of alpines, such as Rock Cress, Candytuft, Pinks, Wall Cress and Moss Phlox, are likely to end up with brown spots during the winter. Despite this, do not overcut. No serious pruning should be done until after they have bloomed.


Depending on where you are located, the winter can be harsh on some of your perennials. Foamy Bells, Japanese Sedge, Bergenia and Coral Bells, are more fragile and likely to take a harsher beating.

Shasta Daisies, Rudbeckia, and Coreopsis with long flower stems fall back during the end of the fall season. The lower leaves become more noticeable at the beginning of spring. You need to get rid of the dead tips first before you can predict how the leaves at the base are doing. Of course, you can take care of the dead tips, but if you just let them be, the new growth during the spring will bring about fresh leaves.

Woody Perennials

The best time to prune these babies is during mid-spring. If you make the mistake of cutting the woody stem back to the ground, it could lead to the plant dying. So, you basically want to make sure you leave the extra 6 inches of woody stem.

Get your timing right

 Having beautiful perennials to greet you at this time of year is a perk worth working for. While you do not need to rush, you should do it before the end of spring. If you wait too long, you may end up with a bunch of knotted, dead plant tops, mixed with new growth. To save yourself the time and effort this issue will take, get your pruning done closer to the beginning of spring.


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