How to Maintain Overgrown Perennials

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on March 12, 2016

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This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner maintain an overgrown perennial garden. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Shopping List for Maintaining Overgrown Perennials:
– Plastic tarp, used to hold the excavated plants
– Solid-body latex stain, for finishing a wood fence
– Starter fertilizer, used to promote root growth[
– Crocus, daffodil, and allium bulbs, planted to produce early-spring blooms
– Pine bark mulch

Tools List for Maintaining Overgrown Perennials:
– Transplanting shovel, for digging up and dividing the perennials
– Reciprocating saw, used to trim fence pickets
– Wire brush, triangle scraper, and putty knife, for removing paint from the fence
– Paintbrush, used to apply stain to the fence
– Bypass pruners, for trimming plant leaves
– Three-tine cultivator, used to rake fertilizer into the soil
– Garden trowel, for planting bulbs

Steps for Maintaining Overgrown Perennials:
1. Spread a plastic tarp on the ground in front of the garden bed.
2. Dig up the perennials with a transplanting shovel, then set the plants on the tarp. Fold the tarp over the plants.
3. Use a reciprocating saw to trim the lower ends of fence pickets, removing any rotted wood.
4. Remove all loose, blistered paint from the fence with a wire brush, a triangle scraper, and a putty knife.
5. Brush a fresh coat of solid-body latex stain onto the fence.
6. Use the transplanting shovel to cut each perennial into three or four parts.
7. Trim the plant leaves very short with bypass pruners.
8. Arrange a few of the divided perennials in the garden bed.
9. Dig a shallow hole for each perennial, then sprinkle a little starter fertilizer into each hole.
10. Set the plants into the holes, checking to be sure that they're at the proper depth.
11. Backfill around each plant with excavated soil.
12. Plant crocus, daffodil, and allium bulbs in between the perennials to produce colorful flowers in early spring.
13. Spread 2 to 3 inches of pine bark mulch over the planting bed.
14. Transplant the remaining divided perennials to a different garden bed.

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