Plants die off each year

I have a large perennial garden here in zone 5. I am losing many plants per year over the winter and all varieties are well suited to zone 5. Most of the divisions I made from larger plants were lost over the winter and these were large healthy growing plants. This past winter, the winter was mild here in southern New York and I still lost a lot of plants. Any ideas?
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Hi Eric!
What sort of perennials ? Is it lose due to physical damage via more active rodents due to warmth or just demise ?
How are your neighbors faring ?
Hosta's ?
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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It depends on what you are losing. It could be wind and sunlight. Are the soils well drained rich in humus? I presume that you get snow but if dry do you water the plants? It could be a combination of things but most likely they are drying out.
http://tinyurl.com/ynubjv
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bullthistle

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I had huge, beautiful perennial beds when I lived in NW Montana and the winters would have been much harsher than yours, I would assume. Other than my window boxes I didn't plant annuals. I never fertilized the first year I planted divisions. I amended the spot with screened compost, planted divisions, watered well, no fertilizing. I also didn't mulch my flower beds. I'm of the 'survival of the fittest' school. They all seemed to survive just fine. Perennials establish roots the first year they are in the ground. If you fertilize for lush top growth they don't put down the heavy root growth they need, or so I was told during my gardening infancy and that seemed to always work for me. For established perennials I stopped fertilizing the last weekend of July no matter what their bloom cycle was. July was also the month I put down the last compost for the year. I cut back on watering the end of August. I also never cut any plants back in the fall except the very tall ones, like hollyhock and delphinium, and those I only cut back by half. I did cleaning and grooming as soon as the snow melted off and boots didn't sink knee deep in the Spring thaw mud. Maybe you are being 'too kind' to your new divisions.
Val

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It looks like I do just about what you do. I don't fertilize at all, though. Adding compost and other amendments over the years has done the job. When plants grow, the really grow! But the winter losses have got me. I don't mulch in the winter. But the earth does get very dry, especially this year with not much snow. I don't water before winter as another here has suggested because I'm afraid the roots will rot.

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What plants? Tell us.
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Probably the most significant issue in pushing the growing zone for perennials is good drainage, wet things don't winter well.
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