cutting off perennials after end of season

We have a great deal of perennials throughout our property (Regina, Saskatchewan).
1) Should we cut off the season's growth to the ground before winter comes?
2) Does the answer to #1 vary with species of perennial?
3) Does leaving the top on promote fungus growth?
Cory Regina. Saskatchewan, Canada
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Cory Lechner wrote:

There is really no right or wrong answer to this question - it depends on your climate and preference. Many folks do a routine clean-up of their garden each fall to ready it for winter that includes cutting back all herbaceous perennials. Others leave selected plants as is over winter, either because they offer late season attraction (sedum seedheads look great dusted with frost or snow) or because they offer fodder to local wildlife. If you live in a hard winter climate (I'm pretty sure Saskatchewan would qualify :-)), there is the likelihood that leaving foliage intact over the winter will offer additional winter protection to the root crown. This can lead to hiding places for overwintering insects and diseases - depends on whether or not they are a big problem in your area. You can always cut back and then mulch to get the same or even superior winter protection.
pam - gardengal
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Pam wrote:

The other reason I wait till spring to do clean-up is because I don't always remember where exactly I planted something, and especially if it is late to come up in spring, might decide to plant something else in that spot.
Suja
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suggestions, I found it usually paid to cut back and remove/destroy dead plant material from perennials and replace its winter protection with red pine or white pine needles (pine straw) in zone 3. It really cut down on over-wintering diseases and bugs. I used plant stakes to identify where perennials "should" sprout in the spring. They didn't always survive open winters. :(
John
John
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Hi! I always clean up my perennials in fall, depending on how they look, especially if there are plants that tend to spread. In fact i'm thinking in the next couple of weeks starting on mine. Peppergirl http://hotcuisine.esmartweb.com /

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I generally just leave my perennials as-is until late winter or early spring. They give some winter interest to the garden and the seed attract wildlife. The dead growth is a marker for the plant. It reminds me where they are and prevents me from digging them up in a fit of spring fever when I can finally get out of the house after the winter snows have melted. I do clean the beds when I see new growth in the spring.
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Hi Cory
cut back your perennials but leave some stems so that you know the plants are there.
You can leave the plants til spring and not worry about fungal diseases. Derryl snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca

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