pruning tall phlox

I have been cutting my tall phlox back to the ground every year, usually in the fall to avoid the mess left by the dead stalks in the spring. They seem to be okay with this treatment and come back every year, but I wonder if this process is advisable or necessary. Also, I've recently learned that they should be fed regularly.Does anyone have suggestions for year-end care?
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It is never a "requirement" to cut back the dead stalks of perennials but most gardeners do, just for the sake of tidiness. Doesn't hurt the plant a bit and with things like phlox which are prone to powdery mildew, getting rid of old, diseased foliage can improve the vigor and certainly the appearance in the following season. When you do it - late fall or early spring - is your choice. If the plant did have powdery mildew, I'd opt for fall - best not to let the spores linger around any longer than necessary. Destroy any diseased foliage - don't compost it.
And for the most part, fertilizing perennials is also unnecessary. If you have good soil and amend it regularly with wth compost or other organic matter, that is all the fertilizer they need. One doesn't actually "feed" plants - they manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthensis - just maintaining the quality of the soil is sufficient. Over-fertilizing will lead to leggy and overly lush growth that attracts insect and disease problems.
pam - gardengal
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (laura) wrote:

For mine, after their first flush of flower, I cut them back, & they have a second flush of flower (two varieties are in rebloom right now). When the second bloom is over, I may or may not cut them back again, mainly depends on if they look crappy enough to make me take the time, or if I want to thin down the area to get maximum light to the ground where there are bulbs planted. The phlox in the sunniest spots get interesting seedheads from the second flowering, & these last through much of autumn & feed the birds, so I'm never in any hurry to remove them. Though if there were ever hints of powdery mildew I'd clip 'em back at once, which I have to do with most of the beebalms but never yet the phloxes.
-paghat the ratgirl
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I'm sorry if this question is a repeat. I was unable to confirm the first one I posted. Is it advisable or necessary to prune tall phlox back to the ground each fall? I have been doing this to avoid the mess left by dying stalks, and the phlox comes back every year but they don't seem to flower as much as they used to do. Any suggestions?
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OTOH, how do I get rid of phlox. it has taken over my mother's gardens and I am trying to get rid of it. we cut most of it back, dug some out. is it annual in zone 5? Ingrid
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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

and I am

annual in zone

It ain't always easy, but if you keep cutting it down, it'll eventually use up all its root-stored energy & melt away.
I've dug up one clump on two occasions to get rid of it, & the second time I dug it up, I planted a peegee hydrangea in the hole the phlox came out of. Yet it has regenerated from root remnants each time, & is now growing out of the base of the peegee. One of the places where I tossed some of it aside, it rooted itself & became a big healthy clump. The attempt to discard it means I now have it in three places instead of one. But I've enjoyed its antics so it doesn't really bother me; I think of it as an heroic perennial. If it seriously wasn't wanted I could do it in in one season, but halfhearted efforts just encourage it.
-paghat the ratgirl
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