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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