April: Cutting Back Perennials and Grasses

Perennials have started to grow and the spring bulbs have broken through the soil. It is time to clean up the brown stalks of perennials and ornamental grasses left standing over the winter. Cut back down to the crowns of the perennials. Be careful not to damage the new growth. Ornamental grasses should be cut down as short as possible. Clear away the debris so that you are not leaving a home for unwanted pests. Don’t trample on the perennials that are slow to wake up and have not broken through the soil.

Perovskia (Russian Sage) should be trimmed to approximately 10 cm. Deadwood should be removed from woody evergreen perennials such as the artemesias. These can be pruned for shape by cutting the stems back by approximately one half. Leave several leaf buds on each stem. Non-woody evergreen should be groomed as needed – sometimes it will be necessary to cut them back to the ground.