Pruning after a Freeze
I love my fall blooming perennials. Especially this Firespike that blooms under the shade of trees, and especially if you've got a deciduous tree.
There is nothing prettier than this Firespike with those beautiful red blooms that blooms in the fall and the hummingbirds come along and can feed in the shade. It has that beautiful green foliage. And then we've got other Salvias that bloom in the shade and the Aralias of course are blooming.
But do you know what happens to these fall blooming, summer planted materials? The first freeze comes a long and look what happens. They look like hell with the fires out because they've been frozen back to the ground. But the good news is the root system is still alive and the good news is also you don't have to look at that ugliness all winter.
Just go in there, cut them off with your shears all the way back to the ground, and give these plants that need sun in the wintertime to grow, such as the Columbine and bloom in the spring, give them a little light. Give your daffodils and those types of things that have been hiding out all during the summertime waiting for the cool weather, give them the light.
Cut all this stuff back to the ground and in between where the root systems are plant flowering annuals that can tolerate the cold temperatures, such as the Pansies, Petunias, and the Johnny-Jump-Ups. They are spectacular at this time of the year, with different colors for both. And then of course the Dianthus and those types of things.
So don't sit around and look at this ugly Lantana and even the ugly Firebush just because at one time it was beautiful. It will be again. But we need to have something beautiful this winter to keep us cheery all winter and not this dead ugly stuff.
This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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