Perennial Plants in Spring
Q: We have had a bit of warm weather this past month and a few of my perennial plants are turning green at the soil line and look ready to grow. Do I need to be concerned or take action? — via the Internet
A: Perennial plants have a variety of cold tolerances and dormancy requirements. Some need just a few weeks of cold weather and they are ready to grow. Others need warm soils to signal their emergence from the ground. And still others never seem to die down all the way to the ground. There is a temptation to clean the old foliage away from the new. But you should remove old foliage in the fall and apply a new layer of mulch. If you didn't do this, don't panic. Leave the old foliage as long as there is the chance of freezing weather. The old foliage serves as a buffer against damaging cold. If the plants do experience freezing weather, they will probably survive with only a bit of tip burn. Once warm weather arrives, the new growth will cover most of the damaged area. For high profile areas, you may want to cut off the damaged foliage. This is labor intensive and not really necessary for most plantings.
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