Winterizing Perennials - Knowledgebase Question

Philadelphia, PA
Question by DAVolpe
December 4, 1997
I have a number of perennials including types of daisies, black eyed susans, daylilies etc. What I should do to "winterize" them. Should I cut them back and cover with mulch?


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Answer from NGA
December 4, 1997

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In my garden I leave the foliage on perennials until the frost kills them back, i.e., they wither and brown. 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. I then cut them back to a height of 3". I do not cut back my Black Eyed Susans for the simple reason that I like the way their little "heads" look covered in snow on an otherwise dreary winter landscape. Mulching is not necessary, but ifyou wish to do so, apply a light, airy mulch such as pine boughs after the ground freezes.

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