Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Clean up of dead leaves?

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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Jan 8, 2017 1:33 PM CST
Thanks for bringing back these wonderful photos, Bev. I love them all!

I've been watching my 6 packs of semps. I haven't planted them yet. They are loving the cooler than normal weather we've been having. Is it normal for lots of outer leaves to turn yellow and die? I'm having to clean them up daily. They look fine, but just outer leaves keep dying. They are pushing out babies right and left, so it's very exciting to keep an eye on them.
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jan 8, 2017 2:09 PM CST
I assume outer leaves changing drastically could be attributed to new environment and or change in season. Pull off the leaves only if when gently pulled, they come off easily even if just yellow. Good sign that you have offsets so you can still have continuation of the cultivar.
All sorts of things are happening to my leaves due to the chronic dampness and rain/snow. I have mushy leaves and mold growing on these leaves. I remove them so as to not affect the healthier leaves.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jan 8, 2017 3:34 PM CST
We did have a very rainy day last week, but the sun is out and they are enjoying it now. I'm leaving the leaves until they shrivel and turn brown. I've been out there with the tweezers! I just can't imagine doing that to a huge mass of them. When you have them in large masses, do you pretty much leave them alone and don't try to clean them up perfectly?
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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Jan 8, 2017 5:07 PM CST

Moderator

I actually clean my semp beds with tweezers. Takes me days!
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jan 8, 2017 5:15 PM CST
If it's a huge mass that I can't get near (without being human pretzel and hurting my back) enough to tweeze each clump, then I don't. But if the container of whatever size can sit on top of a table, then, yes, I will tweeze most of the dead leaves off.
Nowadays, my semps are mostly in containers and the bigger ones are in a very small plot of ground that I can lean/step on the rocks to tweeze/clean.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 8, 2017 5:20 PM CST
I'm a firm believer in putting rocks in strategic places to allow access to semps to clean or prune or treat. Sometimes it was one foot on the rock, sometimes it was my entire weight held as tight as I could balanced on top of the one rock (would have to be a big rock) to get close to a clump of semps. Of course, aside from this function, rocks can be pretty interesting to look at too amongst a collection of semps!! Hurray!
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jan 8, 2017 6:07 PM CST
Ha, I agree that strategically placed rocks or stepping stones would be good. I definitely can see using tweezers for cleaning up potted semps. I guess I am just surprised at how fast they can change from green to yellow to brown!
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Jan 9, 2017 12:36 AM CST
oh my, the contortions I go thru on rocks Hilarious! kinda like rock-twister!
Would it surprise anyone to know that I do not meticulously clean them up with tweezers and such?
I do pull weeds though, and sometimes I wish I had some tweezers--
I usually leave the crispy leaves at the end of summer and do some clean up in the spring after we thaw out. Amazingly, the big colonies grow well thru the spent leaf detritus. I think it actually helps them in my area, both with the hot/dry and the frozen. Spring is really the only time we get a little mushy and thus I may need to clear them, plus, and, also the time I am so compelled to see how things are emerging that I need excavate to an extent.
Can't wait to see how things are fairing in the new garden under all that snow--just a few more months Hilarious!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jan 9, 2017 11:29 AM CST
dirtdorphins said:...Would it surprise anyone to know that I do not meticulously clean them up with tweezers and such?


Would it surprise anyone to know that I have a set of tweezers (fine and blunt point) for upstairs balcony and a set of tweezers for downstairs balcony? One never knows when one might need to "tweeze clean"... Whistling

Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
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pardalinum
Jan 9, 2017 1:36 PM CST
I don 't bother with tweezing unless it is a special display of some type (such as table garden). Out in the regular garden... nah! Got too many other things to do!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Jan 9, 2017 4:03 PM CST

Moderator

I have made this into a new thread. I find it interesting to see how others deal with dead leaves.

So far I have been doing all the removal with my fingers. Think it is time to invest in a good set of long handled tweezers. Any suggestions.
I find if I leave very much of the dead summer leaves going into winter, buy spring the are causing some rot issues with our heavy spring rains. I do try to clean most of the dead leaves out in the fall.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 9, 2017 4:24 PM CST
Lynn, I've gone to Flea Markets and looked for the guy selling all the tools, big and small. Some of these vendors will sell dental and/or medical tools that include long handled tweezers. Besides looking at the length of the tweezers, also note the bluntness and the fine-ness of the tips. Different tasks or different plants may require different tips.

When I use the finer point tweezers on bigger succulent leaves, the points tend to slash into the leaves and pull out small sections. With blunt tip, one can grab more of the leaf or bunch of leaves to pull. Also note what place of origin is printed along tweezer handle; those from Solingen are more quality and you may pay more and those from other places are functional too and tend to be cheaper. I once told a vendor about that and he immediately went thru his inventory, hoping to find some that he could raise the price on... Hilarious!
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jan 9, 2017 4:48 PM CST
I got my tweezers from the Lily Auction. The two reverse action ones are about 6.5 inches long. One is straight point, one is bent point and the small one is bent with a sharp point. Scroll down...

http://www.daylily.com/cgi-bin...

But a lot of the time I just use my fingers...

Thumb of 2017-01-09/pardalinum/564969

Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dirtdorphins
Jan 9, 2017 6:17 PM CST
Well, now that this has taken on a life of its own and I think about it for a minute...
I'm quite certain that my tool of choice would be a pair of hemostats--nice little clamping action, grab the whole leaf rather than tear out portions, and easier to use--for me anyway
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=U...
plus I already have some that I have used and abused on cactus and fuel lines so why not throw a pair on the porch for those semp cleanup photo ops Hilarious!
I'll try it in the spring and let you know
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jan 9, 2017 7:22 PM CST

Moderator

Connie, what are reversed tweezers? How do they work? What makes them different than regular tweezers?

Maybe I should get one of each kind of tweezer? Whistling
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jan 9, 2017 7:45 PM CST
Reverse tweezers are closed when you pick them up, open when you squeeze them, then close when you let go. In other words, they hold on to your object when you let go. You don't have to keep squeezing until you are ready to drop your object, unlike regular tweezers.

I bought all three tweezers at once because I wasn't sure what would work for me. The smaller regular tweezers in my photo would probably be good for pulling small filaments because they are pointed and curved but I haven't yet tried them for that.

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jan 9, 2017 11:24 PM CST
I have a lot of different tweezers and some different hemostats. I got them all for my mosaics and stained glass work. I've been trying them on semp cleanup and so far I'm liking my normal tweezers the best. I'll have to find the reverse ones.
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jan 10, 2017 10:43 PM CST

Moderator

Thank you Connie and Karen.
Now to go order them. Hurray!

Done!!! Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jan 10, 2017 10:55 PM CST
It is always good to have a few different kinds of tweezers on hand. If you find one is not good for one thing, it will likely be good for something else. Very handy tools to just have around the house.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Jan 10, 2017 11:03 PM CST
I never clean my semps unless shipping or pictures. I had a grower tell me the leaves make a nice mulch that helps protect the plant from harsh weather. I liked that philosophy so going with it. And I'm lazy that picky work drives me crazy. If you all ever come to my house bring your tweezers lots of work here.
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