Leave the dead plant stems!

With this scarily warm weather we’ve been having in Haliburton County, it’s tempting to get out there and do a bit of tidying up in the garden.

Please wait!

One of the reasons we leave dead stems standing in the fall is because insects overwinter in them. It’s a nice, safe cozy place to wait out the snow and ice.

And they’re not ready to get up yet! It’s best to wait until the soil temperature is at least 10C before cutting down those stems. And when you do cut them down, you can leave them on the ground where they fall – they make a nice mulch to suppress weeds.

Dead stems = gardening for life.

The issue of stems is another example of human needs vs nature’s needs – and how new gardeners understand we’re gardening for life, not just for us. Yes, maybe the stems look messy according to society’s teachings, but they’re not messy to nature. So if we’re to play our part, we let nature have what nature needs. Right now, that’s dead stems.