Should I Cut Down My Landscaping Plants For Winter?


For many perennials, leaving plant tops over winter is fine and may be preferable. In some areas of Pennsylvania, however, where seasons are short, gardeners have more time for cleanup chores in autumn. There’s something very satisfying about making an early start on next year’s garden.


Does your landscaping look stark and boring in the winter? It doesn’t have to if you just leave cutting back your ornamental grass until spring! Many people cut back their clumps of ornamental native grasses as soon as they go dormant in the fall, or in early winter.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should you cut back landscaping?

Pruning can allow more sunlight and air to filter through the trees and shrubs, which can help keep them healthy. When it's time to prune, focus first on removing dead or dying branches. If you see a sickly branch, cut between the diseased spot and the body of the plant.

Should I cut back my perennials for winter?

No. Although it's recommended to leave them in place until spring, perennials will usually survive if cut back. ... Some perennials, like mums, always winter best with tops left in place. When leaving perennial tops intact during winter, cut them back in spring before new growth emerges from ground level.

Should I cut back my plants for winter?

In general, you should prune shrubs and trees in late winter or spring. Perennial flowers and some grasses, on the other hand, should be cut back in the fall to keep them looking tidy and to control diseases.

When should I cut back my garden for winter?

Most gardeners start cutting back from March onwards:

  1. Using a knife, shears or secateurs cut stems close to the 'crown' or dormant top of the plant, avoiding the removal of new shoots.
  2. In spring, new growth arises from the base of herbaceous plants (including grasses) that die back to ground level over winter.

Do you cut back perennials for the winter?

In the case of many perennials, cutting them back for the winter months helps them come back with vigor the following spring. But for this short-lived perennial, cutting them back at all can sometimes be a death knell.

When is the best time to winterize your garden?

Winterizing your garden includes trimming back some perennials and leaving others until spring. Our experts tell you what to do to ensure success. In the crunch of fall chores and yard cleanup, don’t forget to leave time for garden perennials, too.

Do you cut back wildflowers in the winter?

If you prefer a more polished look in the garden, or live in an area that won’t allow you to keep wildflowers up through the winter, you can definitely mow them down. If possible, leave the cut seed heads on the ground – the birds can still benefit from them.

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