When to cut back plants?


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I'm in zone 7b. Today is in the 70s. We will be having a cold front come through soon but even that isn't very cold. Highs around 58 and lows in the 40s. I think we will be back up in the 70s after that, with lots of sunshine. My pond is all netted for leaf season. I am inclined to wait a while to cut back my plants. Do you all typically cut back BEFORE the first freeze or wait till after? No matter when I cut things, I know they don't usually go fully dormant for winter. With all the warm spells we have, everything goes to sleep and wakes up multiple times throughout the winter.
 
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I trim things a bit here & there as they start to look ratty, but I don't do a full cut back of everything until after a good freeze. As long as things want to be green & look nice, I'm inclined to let them be.
 

addy1

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I chopped today, we are dropping in temp, might bounce back up, but the little baby green frogs need to find the right home, around 8, which is not the bog. It is shut off all winter. And I prefer getting wet mucked up, dirty when it is warm, today 70, next week mid 50's.
And had to save tadpoles so went for it. A almost full day of work.
 
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It's hard to decide! You make a good point, addy1! Being wet and gross is much worse when you are also cold!
 

brokensword

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I tend to wait until the frost gets them, then begin, which means I usually am working in 40 degree temps. I was sorely tempted last week to hit it as the temps were still in the high 60s but it's hard when you feel like you don't get enough pond season in the first place, so I just enjoyed another weekend watching the fish. Plan on erecting the frame (at least) for my winter tent next week when I'm off. I'll do the cutting back then as I'll have easier access to all parts then.

And though @Mmathis hasn't done so yet, I'll sub in and say; PICS PICS PICS!!! (or it didn't happen! Sowwy, thems the rulz!) You can also get some trusted individual to take a vid--that'll suffice!!!


smlaughing.gif
 
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addy1

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I had a few obedient plants blooming but most was just the plants.

I should have taken a pic of my clothes when done, I wore long pants, long sleeve shirt, totally mud covered, wet, gross. I bought some thorn proof gloves from Amazon, long sleeves, wore then for the yanking, saved my hands and finger nails.

And all the lil frogs they need to know this is not their winter home. Find a nice one in a water filled pond. With the cold that is coming they may have settled down for the winter, may have. I still have frogs singing in the ponds. We are down in the 30's at night next week with highs in the low 50's.

Had on some too large black water proof boots, keeping the feet dry and mud free. Had to use the hose to rinse off the boots, my clothes (dumped before I walking into the house) gloves etc, too much sticky mud to even put in the washer.

addy1! Being wet and gross is much worse when you are also cold!
 
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I am taking a different approach this year I am only going to remove plants that are of risk to wicking water up over the sides of the pond. Many plants when they die will be great insulators and prevent areas from deep freeze.. I left a couple spots last year and that is where I found the frogs who made it through the winter to why not . I'll let most Plants be and remove them in the winter. This will also go for any leaves that make it to the bottom of the pond. I'll suck them up in the spring. They are also a heck of a lot easier to do so at that timeas well
 
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addy1

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I thought of that, but leave no water running, the bog water drops below the gravel by a few inches. Maybe I will layer some of the cut iris leaves on top of the bog.

I hardly ever find dead frogs in the spring and have been cutting the bog every fall.

I do pull a lot of root mass so the bog has room to do a do over in the spring, by fall a ton of roots again.
 

brokensword

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I am taking a different approach this year I am only going to remove plants that are of risk to wicking water up over the sides of the pond. Many plants when they die will be great insulators and prevent areas from deep freeze.. I left a couple spots last year and that is where I found the frogs who made it through the winter to why not . I'll let most Plants be and remove them in the winter. This will also go for any leaves that make it to the bottom of the pond. I'll suck them up in the spring. They are also a heck of a lot easier to do so at that timeas well
GB; the problem with leaving any debris in your pond over winter is that the decay process uses oxygen AND expels toxic gasses (hence keeping a hole open). And the more debris, the more O2 used up. If your pond gets heavily snow covered (over 5"), then the algae below will die back and that source of O2 is lost also. Not that fish need nearly as much in winter, but still...

So, better, imo, to get out as much as you can before winter and not stress the fish even more come springtime.
 

brokensword

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I thought of that, but leave no water running, the bog water drops below the gravel by a few inches. Maybe I will layer some of the cut iris leaves on top of the bog.

I hardly ever find dead frogs in the spring and have been cutting the bog every fall.

I do pull a lot of root mass so the bog has room to do a do over in the spring, by fall a ton of roots again.
you won't get a lot of benefit to the water with layering dead plants on top as there won't be a heat source to protect; it's not like you're keeping the heat of the earth in ala a garden bed because the water both gains and loses heat slowly. Once the bog is frozen, just like any natural pond/lake, it'll provide the same cover your dead plants will and NOT add to any decay process. Most aquatic frogs are going to hibernate under water, so unless this is for terrestrial frogs, don't see any advantage. From what I've learned, leaving dead stalks/vegetation through winter is more for the birds (feeding) and anything rotting will be a fungal threat the following season.

Too, I've found that clearing out the dead stuff in fall FAR FAR easier when it's just dead and dried out than in the spring after it's been torn apart by frost and will definitely be wet and hard to move even with equipment.

Just my take and 41 years of landscaper experience.
 

addy1

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Aww I misread I thought he was leaving only bog plants. I would not leave pond plants to die in the pond.

I agree one reason I clean in the fall, then do a hard rake job in the spring. And remove a lot of root mass, this year over 1/2 of the yellow flag iris.
 

addy1

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My land plants get bush hogged, after I walk the plants and save all praying mantis nests I find. Then they just lay there and poof away.
 
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brokensword

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My land plants get bush hogged, after I walk the plants and save all praying mantis nests I find. Then they just lay there and poof away.
oooh, got any pics of the nests??? Never seen any of those before...
 

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By the time it is done raining and I get out to find them I will forget you asked. Here is from the web.

I can spot them easily, my eyes have the ability to spot things. One reason I was a good at ultrasound. Hubby always has me look for any things wrong with a car. I can find every scratch, mark, he sees nothing but the car. I save around 20-30 every year looking before I do the bush hogging.

 

brokensword

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By the time it is done raining and I get out to find them I will forget you asked. Here is from the web.

I can spot them easily, my eyes have the ability to spot things. One reason I was a good at ultrasound. Hubby always has me look for any things wrong with a car. I can find every scratch, mark, he sees nothing but the car. I save around 20-30 every year looking before I do the bush hogging.

those are very neat! I know I've never seen any in my gardens, but I think I've only seen one PM in the 30+ years I've been here. I may have to see about importing some...you're very lucky! Do you get a lot/any ladybugs there? I know they're great against aphids. Used to have some that seemed to emerge IN the house each warm winter day, but haven't seen those in a while, either.
 
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We usually have so many praying mantis around, but this year I don't think I've seen more than one or two. It really was an odd year, bug-wise. After the mild winter we had last year, I thought we'd be overrun with all sorts of insects, but there were so many that just seemed to be in very limited supply this summer.
 

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