The Q&A Archives: Cleaning Up the Old Garden Growth

Question: I left the old growth in my garden to make "interesting snow sculptures." Now I wonder if that was a mistake as I see some growth on and between these dead stems, etc.I have quite a variety, but it includes liatris, lavender, a rambling rose, asters, lambs ear, moonbeam coreopsis, coneflowers, and obedient plant. Will these come back from the ground if I cut them all back now or should I leave them alone? Sandra Fowler Indianapolis, IN

Answer: You did what I do every year.....don't clean up. I do it in the spring just as I see new growth. So get out there and remove all the dead leaves, etc. before the new growth gets so big that it is in danger of being damaged! However, not all plants come back from the base. You should remove all dead material from the liatris, lambs ear, moonbeam coreopsis, coneflowers and obedient plant. The rose and the lavender are woody plants and will have regrowth from spots on the woody stems so wait on those.Only prune them back if there are obvious dead stem segments.

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