Pruning and cutting back

I am looking for preferrably an online resource that covers the care of perennials and shrubs and such in terms of pruning and cutting back following or prior to the grow season. I have a variety of plants and I am a novice on the best care during the non-growing season so I'm looking for a good resource to look up my plants. In absence of an online resource if anyone can suggested PC based guides or books that may cover a variety of plants and this care that would be great!
Many of the books, sites, and resources I've run into really don't go into much details at all around the non-growing season care. I've paged through a bunch that say "cut back and shape during dormant season" - great, but for the novice, what does that mean and when is that for the particular plant! I understand what it means in general, but what it specifically means for each plant I am looking up is what I am after.
thanks for any help!
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I assume that plants survived for millions of years without any intervention from people cutting them back. Therefore, my approach to the issue is to leave things alone as much as possible. I will clean out my perennial beds in the spring when new growth starts to appear for housekeeping purposes. The exception would be to remove dead leaves in late fall from plants that tend to get fungal disease so spores aren't carried over to the next year. The internet is a wealth of information. If I have specific questions on specific plants, I do a google search.
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Other than going online plant by plant, I've yet to find an internet resource that has a very comprehensive selection of plants AND their cultural and care requirements. OTOH, there are a quite a few excellent books (remember them??) available that specifically address your concerns.
For perennials, look for The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, by Tracy deSabato-Aust. It is very comprehensive, including about 400 or so commonly grown perennials, and addresses issues like deadheading, cutting back, winter protection and dividing and propagating.
For trees and shrubs, Dirr (Manual of Woody Plants) is an excellent resource but I'd also recommend Pruning and Training by Christopher Brickell.
And there are countless books that address plants by specific genus and provide extremely detailed info on their growth and care. You might need to spend a bit of time at your local library :-))
FYI, a plant's dormancy period is when the plant is not in active growth. For the majority, this occurs in winter when deciduous material loses its leaves and perennials die back to the ground or for evergreens, when there is no active top growth (root growth and development will typically continue regardless of the season). There are plants that are summer dormant, but these usually require minimal attention or input from the gardener.
HTH pam - gardengal
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Pam - gardengal ( snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net) wrote...

I'll second pam. When trying to learn about something I have always found a good book or two much better than any info online.
Being a novice myself I have found the book; Better Homes and Gardens New Complete Guide To Gardening as a great resource. Give your local library a vist. There's sure to be a wealth of information there.
-Felder
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