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By Pamsco

Midlothian, Scotland Sco

Can I cut achillea foliage right back or should I let it die back naturally? Just trying to tidy the borders up but don't want to kill anything.




I just cut the flower stems back to the base, Pam, and leave the foliage alone, as it doesn't die back. As this plant can be a 'spreader' you could split it if you want to, either now or in the spring.

18 Oct, 2010


The foliage will also protect the growing points of the clump, so just keep old messy leaves trimmed off.

18 Oct, 2010


Thanks, I'll post a photo later because it looks like they are dying back. Maybe I have the wrong plant name?

19 Oct, 2010


Oh dear - you might have, Pam. Take a look on my home page and find Achillea on my plant list - that might help.

19 Oct, 2010


If it is Achillea Pam,the birds will appreciate the dried flower heads later on..they eat mine..

19 Oct, 2010


Thanks Spritz.

Hi Bloomer,

the seed heads had been cut back by the previous owner before I moved in it is just the foliage around now and it is everywhere.

Thanks all.


19 Oct, 2010


I hate to warn you - but are the beds neglected? Could this foliage be from the native version of Achillea - i.e. Yarrow? That spreads like wildfire, and the flowers are an off-white. Watch out for a stray flower, just in case....

20 Oct, 2010


I can't say it was neglected as such but the house sat empty for about 3 months before we moved in. The foliage is in every bed so I want to remove it from some areas anyway. I never saw the flowers. I had a similar problem with alstroemeria - everywhere!

I really struggle to know what to do with perenials, do I cut back or not? Or when do I cut back?

I have a huge snail problem and I want to get the beds defined (currently no real edge) and cleared enough to see where all the snails are sheltering and remove them.

20 Oct, 2010


Most perennials are herbaceous - in other words, they vanish for the winter and reappear in the spring. Some keep their leaves...If you want to have a tidy up, cut back the dead flower stems to the base - all except Penstemons, if you have any. Those should be left until spring and then cut back to new growth, as they're not always hardy. Some people leave all the cutting back of all perennials until early spring anyway, but I like to mulch the beds in late autumn, so I do cut back plants like phlox, as they go mildewy. I leave the more decorative seed heads, like Rudbeckia, as they look great in the frost, and provide shelter for insects.

As to defining the beds, use a half-moon edging tool -if the edges are straight, cut to a board, if they're curved, it's more difficult, but I do it by laying out small pieces of wood in the shape I want, and cut to those - or by eye.

Snails in my garden are to be found under flowerpots, in the rims of containers and tucked into wall crevices. I do sometimes come across one or two in the beds, but not often at this time of year.

if you get a damp evening, then go out with a torch and a bucket of water and you'll find the snails out for a walk. Easily caught and disposed of. :-((

20 Oct, 2010


Spritz, you are an angel!

Thanks for all that information. I'll be walking my beds tonight!

21 Oct, 2010


Haha - I've never been called an 'angel' before! My halo's shining. LOL.

It was a pleasure and i hope my 'essay' helped. :-)))

21 Oct, 2010

How do I say thanks?

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