Perennial Fall Care and Bulbs

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With the crazy weather we’ve had so far this fall, it may be a good idea to consider mulching beds that have perennials in them. The mulch not only helps keep the winter weeds out, but it also helps to keep the warmth in the soil. Mulch is like a blanket over the roots of the plant, keeping them comfortable so they can continue to grow. With the dry weather that we have had, the mulch will also keep the moisture in the soil so the plants don’t dry out.

It’s still a little early to think about cutting back perennials. One thing to consider before cutting them back is that some pollinators may use the dead stems as a place to overwinter. Another consideration is that if the plant has seed heads on it, those could be left through the winter to feed the birds. Leaving the stems and seedheads on some of these perennials may have some benefits we aren’t aware of right now but will benefit our landscape down the road.

It’s usually best to wait until we have some consistent cooler weather for a week or two before planting flower bulbs. However, many bulbs may be arriving at a garden center near you right now. If you see some bulbs that you would like to plant, pick them up and store them in a lower compartment of the refrigerator until we get those cooler temperatures. Bulbs that stay in the store for a long time start to get mushy and lose their ability to flower. For the best flower show from spring bulbs, purchase them as soon as they arrive in the store or order them online and have them shipped at the best time for planting.