The Q&A Archives: Cutting Russian Sage back

Question: I live in zone 4. You say to cut Russian Sage back in the spring, but I am afraid that snow weight will break all the branches off. My sage was planted this year, (spring) and grew amazingly well. Can I cut the branches back after a hard freeze instead of waiting until spring? If so, would I need to mulch the plants to help them overwinter?
Thank You
Linda M

Answer: In my garden I leave the foliage on woody perennials until the following spring. Then I cut back anything that has been killed by winter weather. It is important to leave the foliage intact while it is still green so the root system can store up enough food energy for the long hibernation. You can certainly cut the plants back after a hard freeze rather than waiting until spring. Mulching will provide some winter protection; apply a light, airy mulch such as pine boughs after the ground freezes.

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