Lamb's Ears spring maintenance...cut back?

Connie KMarch 11, 2013

Now that I am retired, I want to take better care of my garden. My lamb's ears tend to look ratty, and I noticed yesterday as I was cleaning the bed that most of the plant looks dead. That may be normal, but since I have never worked outside this early in the spring before, I don't have any comparison.

I did a quick search online, and read that in the spring you are supposed to cut back the plants to very close to the ground. Is this what you do?

Maybe this is why mine always look bad.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

first off.. you can do a lot of damage being out too early ...

especially if you are walking in your beds.. making concrete out of your soil ...

second.. if you have more than one.. experiment.. you are more likely to remember... if you try different methods..

third.. get down there.. and look to see if there are buds down low.. if so ... off with their heads ... all the power to the buds ...

if you dont see them.. and your research already said to do it.. perhaps you are out too early ... but it wont matter.. just do it ...

and really.. the name of the plant doesnt matter ... just about everything goes low in early spring ....

[of which we will now get a list of those that shouldnt.. lol ... but i am devious that way .. lol ...]


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:24PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I don't prune so much as groom. I just pull off the old ratty stuff - if you wait until this time of the year (opposed to the fall), it pulls right off/out with a good yank. Or you can use pruners if you want to be more delicate about it. Just cut or yank. No need to be fussy with these, they'll be fine - if any gets uprooted just tamp it back into place.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:50AM
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Had a garden with a large patch of lamb's ear right by the front door.

Removed the flower spikes after flowering and it looked OK after that.

I never leave garden clean up till the next spring.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:41AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I do what mxk3 does. Spring clean-up by pulling the dead stuff off, except if I uproot some they go in the compost...they're spreading too much for me. These are tough plants and they can take quite a bit.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 5:55PM
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I don't do spring clean-up at all. In the very late fall I cut everything down. Some I do by hand and some I just mow. I leave all the cuttings lay right where they are for mulch (and have never had problems with disease). In the spring, I spread the dead stuff around into the bare spots for mulch.

I seldom use 'killer stuff' unless I am creating a new bed --- then Round-Up or similar products do the job for me. If I have more time, I just smother the new beds with hay in late summer/fall so by spring I can plant.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:30PM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I third the "grooming" approach. I just did mine and it was half-ratty and half nice with some new growth. I just yank off the ratty soft leaves and leave what looks good.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 5:39PM
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I try to avoid doing spring clean up too early on my flower beds. I feel the "ratty" stuff insulated the plants over winter and when Spring weather/temps fluctuate so often, and new growth begins, the ratty stuff protects it.

With tough ole Lambs Ears however, in the early Spring I rake the spent leaves off any day it's nice and I have the time. In my garden, once established, It's difficult to irreparably damage Lambs ear.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:04PM
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