Thursday, September 24, 2009

What to do with hosta at end of season

Red October is a late blooming hosta
The biggest question I am asked this time of year is "What should I do with my hostas now that it's fall?" Many people think they should cut all of the foliage off of them. I've even heard of people running them over with their lawn mower. The truth is that you don't have to do anything with your hostas in fall. By cutting the foliage off of your hostas, you may actually be spreading disease. Imagine if your doctor never cleaned his instruments, well that is what it's like if you cut your hostas. If one hosta has a disease, you could be spreading it to all your other hosta. So if you want to cut down your hostas in fall (or even the scapes) it's very important to sanitize your equipment when going from plant to plant with a 10% bleach solution. There is no way I am going to bleach my tools after cutting the foliage off of my 400 some hosta, so I find it's much easier to just rake up the dead leaves from my hosta in spring.

6 comments:

ScottHokunson said...

Jennifer,

Great advice in regards to not spreading disease. My clients ask me about cutting back hostas all the time. Now I can add disease prevention, as a reason to let them be, until they turn brown and fall to the ground. Maybe now they'll listen. LOL

Scott

Jeff Branch said...

I have a buddy that ran over his hostas with his lawn mower this year. He says that came back looking great. I have never done this. I may test this idea next year on one hosta just to see what happens. I would never do this on a large scale. 400 hostas - impressive. I have 75 or so.

Hosta Nerd said...

Running them over with lawn mower doesn't hurt them growth wise, but it will still spread disease if you have an infected plant and continue to run over other hostas with the lawn mower.

containergardener said...

I'm always fond of advise that appeals to my slacker side. Thanks for taking something off my list of things I thought I should do but never would have gotten around to and would have felt guilty about.

You made my day. Now hostas will sit happily until spring.

Carol said...

So if the hostas have been knocked back by frost, you should still sanitize between plants if you decide to cut them back/

Kelly Watson said...

Innnnnteresting. I was thinking of cutting mine back, but they turned such a pretty shade of yellow this year that I decided to leave them. Guess it's a good thing.

I wonder if this advice applies to mums as well?