Marking perennials to keep from "weeding" them out come spring!

ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)March 30, 2013

Any good ideas here? Don't think I would keep up a notebook, but gotta find a way to mark perennials so I know what (and where) I've planted the next spring! Tags get eaten by mulch, die back prevents "on plant" tags. There has got to be a way to prevent these things disappearing or erroneously getting weeded out!

Hate to get aluminum stake plates for each but I may have to! It's not a botanical garden...but eek! Can't find my plants!!

Any ideas??

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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Understand the "notebook' effort. Didn't work for me either. And I don't want the aluminum stake thing either. Also tried the plastic ones from Ace.

AND -- I've tried THREE times to type a more detailed reply with my OWN experiences, only to have it 'delete' for no cause.

So not gonna try to share my own "tag disappearing" a third time for fear of losing my post once again....???

Only thing I CAN say that what has saved me somewhat was (by chance) taking pictures with my camera phone in the same spots each year which (unbeknownst to me) put a date stamp on them.

(And if you don't get all this PIC stuff and DATE STAMP stuff...just let me know. Will be glad to help you with it)

Hafta admit. I just got lucky and happened to take pics at exactly the same time for a couple years in a row. But DID find that to be a wealth of information !!!

Just saying...if you are like me and aren't into "documenting" it was once said...."a picture says a thousand words."

So just saying....if you aren't into writing down stuff, try using your camera. Won't give you 'names' but at least will show you where things are

This post was edited by brit5467 on Sun, Mar 31, 13 at 6:22

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 5:21AM
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For those herbaceous perennials that die back completely *and* show no dead 'stalks' I mark each using the very same plastic skewer used by "Edible Arrangements". These 'sticks' are opaque plastic about 6" long and so not extra visible. When the plant shows enough of itself in the spring I remove the 'skewer' and set it aside for use the next fall.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 6:47AM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

Both great ideas! Now REMEMBERING I TOOK the pictures, that's the ticket! BUT, I think if I use both methods together. Mark with something like rouge21 shows and take the picture you mention, Brit! Now were on to something!!

Keep it coming if you have another idea!! And thanks!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Routine challenge.

I find that drawing location plans, backed up by taking photographs, of sections of perennial beds and of particular types of perennials works pretty well for me.

Weeding: I do a thorough weeding in late fall when I'm clearer about what's what. Think that's a good start for next spring.

I like to know the accurate identity my plants. For my small number of unidentified cultivars, I assign them as "No Name", e.g. No Name, "Favourite Iris". I find it's well worth keeping some hardy and long-lived old perennials.

No Name "Favourite Iris" below came from a piece of rhizome, left on the surface, when they dismantled an iris bed at a local public garden, maybe forty years ago.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:14AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

As stated above, the garden map method is pretty fool-proof for me too. Before I start early season work in a particular bed, I take out my map, locate everything on the map that should be there even if it's not up yet and go from there. If I had to remember to stick in some sort of marker at the end of the season to mark various plants - well, it just wouldn't happen. I know myself I guess, but if it works for you - great.

In reality, the only plants I can think of that are kind of late to emerge are the lilies. As everyone is aware, there's nothing more depressing than digging in an area you thought was bare only to slice a few lily bulbs in half or break off emerging shoots. Which is why, when I clean up in the fall, I leave at least 8-9 inches of the dead lily stalks to mark the spot.

One more thing, if most perennials aren't showing yet, it's probably too early to be digging in the garden anyway.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:21PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

Ditto what Kevin says about leaving 6" or so of stems of late-risers when cutting things back in the fall - for me, that's largely the hardy hibiscuses, which don't re-appear here until June! Without the reminder of a few inches of old stems, there'd be no way to tell where they are. Actually, I leave a lot of clean-up to the spring, only cutting down things that might carry disease over in the foliage (e.g. peonies....), or that have seedheads that will deposit unwanted seedlings, or that have tall coarse stems that will be unattractive and messy when flattened by snow and wind. So it's pretty easy to see where most things are in spring simply by the mounds of dead foliage. The remains of the old foliage also helps protect the emerging new growth from the sometimes wildly fluctuating bouts of warm and cold spring temperatures! It's far too early here to be doing a bare-earth clean-up yet. A few 'bad' insect pests (mostly snails!) will overwinter in the foliage, but so do 'good' insects; on the whole, the balance favors the 'good' ones - but the situation might be different in your climate.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Spring weeding is not the issue as by the time I have to really do some weeding in the new year most if not all 'good' plants are up through the ground and easily distinguishable.

Instead it is my memory that needs prodding. With the many perennials each of us has and replaces or moves each season it is easy to lose track of some of them over the winter; especially when they are planted "cheek to jowl" as in my garden. A quick plastic skewer in the ground is the quickest (aka laziest) way for me mark them in the fall i.e.faster and easier but for sure less elegant than doing a detailed map.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sun, Mar 31, 13 at 23:23

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:40PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in fall.. as the leaves fall.. and myriad of sticks.. i would just snap sticks into 8 inch pieces.. and shove them in the ground.. i might know WHAT is there.. but i knew SOMETHING was there.. lol ..

and.. as i ground up the leaves to cover the beds for fall ... i would make a higher circle around the crown of the plant.. again .... i knew something was there ...

popsickle sticks.. plastic knives ... there are a host of things you can mark things with in fall.. and remove in spring.. short of spending a lot of money ...

oh.. in the day.. garbage pic some mini blinds.. and cut the blinds into 6 inch pieces.. and sandpaper them enough to mark them with a lead pencil ....

the sky is the limit ... no reason the cost has to be..


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:42AM
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'ken' meant to write: i might not know WHAT is there.. but i knew SOMETHING was there...

Exactly! At the least the simple stick tells me something should arise in April/May and eventually, as it develops, I will be able to ID it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:54AM
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My whole back yard is garden, and maps just didn't work for me. I use pieces of bamboo sticks or plastic knives/forks stuck into the ground. My baptisia rated a small metal stake - I was always looking for it in spring, and always afraid of stepping on it.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:27AM
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ruth_mi wrote: My whole back yard is garden,

I would love to see a few pictures showing as much of this backyard as possible.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Love all the comments here. Nice everyone is sharing. I am a garden addict and have gardens surrounding my property pretty much. The truly good way to id plants and make sure your are not disturbing any dormant plants and or bulbs is pictures, pictures, pictures. If you have a digital camera, just try to go out as often as you can from early spring thu fall and do this each year. Great reference to compare to each year. Make sure you keep notebooks and maps and keep them updated when a plant dies or you make changes to the garden. Good luck. By the way, I use metal stakes. Most of the plastic and old venetian blind markers get pushed up each spring from the ground thaw. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:42PM
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The truly good way to id plants and make sure your are not disturbing any dormant plants and or bulbs is pictures, pictures, pictures.

For sure photos are the best record for keeping straight all the plant names. I guess I am thinking that the the one disadvantage of pictures as compared to my 'cheesy' plastic sticks is that one needs to bring these printed pictures outdoors to make use of them.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 7:25

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I like to use rocks to mark plants I think I might forget, or haven't had long enough to recognize. But basal growth from a perennial usually looks very different from sprouting seeds of almost any weeds, unless there's perennial weeds to consider, it's got to be something I planted.

Maybe it's just me, but putting any kind of marker for plants is usually tantamount to reading it its' last rites. Maybe they die of embarrassment? One of Murphy's Laws?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:30PM
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For the time these small stakes are in the garden it is late fall and so generally mostly covered by leaves; in the winter it is snow that hides them and in the spring I am just glad to see them marking a soon to appear plant!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:39PM
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