February 2018

Tidy up daylilies and other perennials scorched by Indiana’s excessive heat

Hostas, even those in the shade, have been scorched by the excessive heat and drought. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

In the hopes that the 100-degree days are gone for the summer, there are a few things to do in the landscape to clean up from the historic scorching.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) tend to look a bit ragged this time of year regardless of the weather. The early and mid-season blooming varieties are done and their foliage has started to turn brown. Rebloomers, such as ‘Stella d Oro’ or ‘Happy Returns’, are likely in a resting phase, and their leaves also look a bit tired.

Trim off any ugly daylily leaves. This will make the garden look tidy and less fried. Remove the stalks of spent flowers, too.

Hostas, even those in the shade, may look a bit scorched, especially if they have not been watered. You don’t have to do anything, but if you feel compelled, snip off the worst looking leaves at the base of the plants. Most  hostas bloomed early, so remove spent flower stalks, called scapes.

Cut back perennials by about half. These include coneflower (Echinacea), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), garden phlox and bee balm (Monarda). This removes spent flowers and gives plants a chance to rest a bit by reducing the foliage it has to support in hot, dry weather.

Shrubs and trees that have turned brown or lost their leaves likely will leaf out again when given adequate moisture. The leaves will be smaller. Wait until next year to remove any branches from deciduous shrubs and trees to make sure they won’t leaf out again.

Brown branches on needle evergreens can be removed because they are dead.

Hold off on fertilizing the lawn, trees, shrubs and perennials. No need to force growth. It would be better to give these plants adequate water. Continue to fertilizer annuals.

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