Garden clean-up


My understanding is that there are native bees that hibernate in the hollow stems of perennials; therefore, one should resist the urge to cut these down in the fall, and should hold off until the weather is consistently warm e.g. late May. It bugs me that my neighbours look askance. Shouldn’t you be encouraging everyone to hold off for the sake of pollinators?


Many gardeners still think that a good fall clean up and early spring tidy of the garden is proper gardening.  However, as we become aware of the importance of the health of our local ecosystems and protecting pollinators, knowing when to start and how to do a spring clean-up in the garden is key.  Many pollinators overwinter in the dead material and debris that is usually removed in fall or spring clean-up.  If material is removed too early, many pollinators can be destroyed.  It is recommended to wait to do garden clean-up until the temperatures are consistently about 10 °C for about 7 days.

The Savvy Gardening article you mentioned  and an article by Gardening Know How:  Spring Cleanup Time:  When to Start Spring Garden Cleaning: are both great resources to share with your neighbours.

Another good resource by Savvy Gardening provides more good rationale for putting off garden clean-up until spring.

As Toronto Master Gardeners we are part of an international non-profit community service network and we have more than 130 trained horticulturists who volunteer their time to provide advice to home gardeners in the Toronto area.

We provide this advice in numerous ways so that the public can access information in a variety of ways suitable to their learning style.  This includes online question forums, advice clinics, online & in person presentations, articles, gardening guides, radio appearances and our website.   Based on commitments, schedules and other responsibilities of home gardeners, our resources provide options for learning.

As Master Gardeners we attend annual and monthly education sessions and are happy to share this knowledge with the public as information changes.

May 8, 2021