Info about Cutitng Back Perennial and Shrubs for Fall?

Is there some web page that gives detailed information about which of perennials and shrubs need to be cut back in fall and how to do it?
-- Jenny
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Unfortunately, there is no single website I am aware of that will provide this information. You can do a search on individual plants or look for "The Well-Tended Perennial Garden" by Tracy Disabato-Aust for pretty detailed care info on a wide assortment of common perennials. Most shrubs are not cut back in fall. Early flowering shrubs like forsythia and lilac are pruned immediately after they are done blooming and most other shrubs should be trimmed or pruned in late winter just before budbreak or early spring as they put on new growth. A good pruning manual will provide you with the details on when and how for each individual shrub.
pam - gardengal
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I'm not aware of any shrubs that need to be cut back. Sometimes people prune shrubs to promote flowering, but it isn't a necessity. Of course pruning some shrubs like azaleas in the fall will remove all the flower buds. Pruning shrubs late in the fall can often stimulate grow that doesn't have time to harden-off before winter hits. I
As for perennials, I'm also not aware of any that have to be cut back. I see it as a housekeeping exercise, especially for perennials that are diseased. Removing the dead parts after a couple of hard frosts will remove spores of fungal diseases that could otherwise remain over the winter. I generally leave my perennials as-is, with very little attention until late winter/early spring. At that time, I go out and clean up the garden. I think that leaving the perennials help them to self-mulch over winter. Some perennials have interesting seed heads or pods and the dead plants can add interest in the winter landscape. They can also provide shelter for wildlife.
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Not all but many shrubs decline in a very few years if never pruned, while others stop producing flowers hence fruit & seeds therefore stop reproducing if never pruned. Round here, in nature, it would be deer, elk, bears, insects, & even the wind that do the pruning. In our gardens we have to take over that natural chore. And Jenny's original question about finding a central list of detailed information about which & when is a good question, though I'm not sure a central source of information exists & the care of each shrub or perennial in one's garden may well have to be researched one at a time until the gardener slowly gains a general knowledge of the care of sundry plant groups.
-paghat the ratgirl
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