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Drought question - help quick!!

(8 Posts)
SalVolatile Wed 01-Jul-09 22:09:39

Am I right in thinking that we should cut back perennials hard in a drought? Please advise quick before I do the wrong thing - thanks!

Tangle Wed 01-Jul-09 23:57:32

Depends on the perennial, how well established it is and how long the drought is likely to go on!

Are you plants really suffering? What are they? Given the weather's meant to break within a week I'd be reluctant to hack mine unless they were really struggling and I had no way of coaxing them through.

Pannacotta Thu 02-Jul-09 17:47:28

NO need to cut them back, just make sure you water well, ideally in the evenining when it is less hot.

SalVolatile Fri 03-Jul-09 14:27:15

Catmint, geraniums?

Tangle Fri 03-Jul-09 15:41:46

I'd say they'll probably be fine. Where abouts are you? Around here its much cooler today and set to get cooler still.

Re. the geranium, do you know what type it is? The clump forming ones usually respond quite well to being cut back hard after flowering regardless of the weather - they get all enthusiastic, put up lots of new growth and then give you a 2nd flush of flowers

throckenholt Fri 03-Jul-09 15:45:13

I would only cut them back if they look like they are suffering - as perennials they should have a good roots that go down deeper.

SalVolatile Fri 03-Jul-09 19:59:35

Kent - and soil has baked hard. Have trimmed clumps of all the perennial geraniums as I know they will come back but I am sure that I have read Carol Klein somewhere saying that drought stuck plants survive better if cut back, but now i cant find reference....I have clematis, roses, echinacea, hydrangeas, asters, hollyhocks etc etc all suffering terribly even though I have soaked the most precious plants. to be honest even though we have had thunder and rain in the last 24 hours its nothing like the amount needed to penetrate here, and we have an old well which shows the water table level and it"s really really low, even after last winter and this garden is practically sea level. Can't be anything to do with the neighbouring golf course hmm

Tangle Sat 04-Jul-09 18:19:31

Does the golf course draw water direct from the local aquifer? If not then its probably unfair to blame them (tempting though it is) and if they're watering the courses they may even be helping the situation.

The level of the water table isn't an absolute guide to the amount of water the plants have access to - capilary action will draw water a long way into the soil, and rain may get held as ground water without boosting the water table at all. Although a low water table isn't helpful, I agree.

Do the plants perk up in the evening and/or if you water them? If you do decide to hack I'd try and stick to the herbaceous stuff - by cutting things back you'll be encouraging new growth which will be even more susceptible to water loss.

Fingers crossed you get lots of rain soon.

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