Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall Cleanup of Hosta

Hosta "Queen Josephine" in spring

Hosta "Queen Josephine" in fall
Fall is a busy time for the gardener.  We have leaves to rake, compost to turn, seeds to collect, flower beds to mulch and so on.  So much that sometimes I don't get everything done in time for the first snow.  One thing I do make sure to do is clean up my Hosta before I put my flower beds to rest.  They are such an easy care perennial and don't need much attention but the one thing I try to do is remove all the dying foliage. I do it to reduce and/or prevent any future issues.

The first issues I try to prevent are slug and snail problems.  Slug and snails can wreak havoc on my Hosta leaves in the spring and summer.  I believe removing the leaves in the fall help to reduce their numbers come spring since they can lay their eggs in decaying matter.  Removing the foliage makes them move somewhere else to lay their eggs.

Another reason to remove the foliage is foliar nematodes. Nematodes can overwinter in the dead foliage and find their way to your Hosta next spring.  Nematodes cause damage to the leaves in the summer and they can spread if not controlled. 

Disease control is another reason to remove the dead foliage.  Some diseases can make their home in dead and decaying matter.  Good housekeeping around your flower beds can help keep problems such as anthracnose and bacterial rot at bay along with a multitude of other disease that may or may not affect your Hosta but do affect your other plants in your garden.

How do I clean up my Hosta?  I wait for them to be hit by a freeze and then I go out and pull the dead foliage away from the crown of the Hosta.  It should pull right off.  I am not a fan of using tools such as pruners for this since disease can be spread that way, and you don't really need them anyway.  I also do not compost any of the leaves-my compost does not get hot enough to kill any pests or disease so I send them off with our city since they have a compost facility. 

Here are some pics of how to remove the foliage easily:
1.  Find a Hosta
2.  Grab the foliage with your hand
3.  Pull the foliage-it should come off
 4.  Clean up your leaves and dispose of them
 5.  All cleaned up and ready for winter
Not all gardeners clean up their Hosta in the fall-some leave the foliage to decompose over the winter.  I do not.  I prefer to remove the debris and as I said-I really think it does help to reduce the issues that occur with Hosta.  If you have pest and disease issues with your Hosta give this a try and maybe next spring you won't have an issue with slugs or with nematodes.  You might be surprised at much it helps.  I hope you find this post useful and if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below:-)) 

As always-Happy Planting!


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