The Q&A Archives: Fall Maintenance for Perennial Garden

Question: Now that fall is here, I have questions about how to prepare my new perennial garden for winter: 1. Do the plants listed below need to be cut back or just left to die out. If they need to be cut back, how is it done? 2. Should I fertilize and add fresh mulch? 3. Are any of the plants susceptible to deer damage? So far, the deer haven?t bothered with any of them. 3. When is the best time to do this prep work in Connecticut? Thanks!

Delphinium ?Dwarf Blue Butterfly?
Iberis ?Alexander?s White?
Lambs? Ear ?Helene Von Stein?
Miscanthus sinensis ?Maiden Grass?
Heuchera ?Amethyst Myst?
Delosperma cooperi ?Ice Plant?
Myosotis alpestris ?Ultramarine Forget-Me-Not?
Penstemon ?Prairie Dusk?
Liatris spicata ?Kobold?
Rudbeckia fulgida ?Goldstrum?
Coreopsis grandiflora Tickseed ?Early Sunrise?
Dianthus ?Cottage Pinks?
Warminster Broom

Answer: There are only a few things you need to do to ensure your perennials survive the winter and come back strong next spring. First, don't feed your plants now. Wait until early spring. Second, wait until the first frost kills back the tops of the plants and then cut or pull the dead foliage and remove it from the garden. Then spread several inches of mulch over the bed to help keep the soil from heaving during the freeze and thaw cycle of winter weather. In the spring, brush or rake the mulch away from the crowns of the plants. You can fertilize after new growth begins. The plants you list won't be interesting to deer during the winter months because the tops will be gone.

Best wishes with your garden!

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