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Old 06-29-2015, 10:09 AM
 
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I bought a home ten years ago with thousands of hostas. They have been very easy to take care of but recently they have been dying off. So I did some research to buy new plants and found this life span about most of them on the Bachmans plant library page: "...and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years."

So I am now wondering if they are all going to start dying off. The ones that died were very large clumps and now small ones have popped up and filled the space. Should I start dividing them to keep them growing?

I also have been mixed up about fall cleanup of the hostas. Some of my neighbors mow them down, some leave them and clean up in spring. I found this information that says to clean them up in the spring: "...and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season"

What do most Hosta gardeners do for clean up, Fall mow down or Spring cleanup?

This photo is just some of my hostas:

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Old 06-29-2015, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
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Personally, I leave mine until spring and then clear away the dead leaves way before the new shoots begin to emerge from the ground. I trim the bloom stalk off in the late summer because I just don't think it's very attractive. I haven't ever divided mine - but then I have dug them up and moved them a few times to fill in other places - which probably prevented the need of dividing them. Your photo of them looks beautiful.

Also, I have never (and wouldn't really ever consider) just mowing down my flowers. I have the time and patience to prune them and prefer them not to get "blade raped"! I do use my weed whacker on my dianthus to deadhead it when it is done blooming - I have some pretty large areas of it and it looks much better when it's cleaned up.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:04 AM
 
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Thanks CFoulke. We did several years of spring clean up but out weather here ends up so bad, rainy/snowy and they start emerging in that right through the last years debris before we can get out there. Then the leaves get damaged trying to come through all that, plus they get damaged when we try to clean out the debris in the spring. Though the previous owner recommended leaving it till spring and letting the tree leaves pile up on it. Makes one slimy mess though...

Like I said, we have so many of these to tend, this picture is just about 1/12 th of the yard if not less.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:39 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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I have them all across the front of the house, about 3' x almost 50', except for the front steps. Some are over 10 years old and doing just fine, but I do divide them every couple of years so they don't get too cramped. Most of the time I have no problem giving them away. After the flowers have dried up, I cut the stalks off. Then when the leaves have gone all yellow I snip them all off. I wait until they start to put out new shoots in spring to thin them. They are very cooperative, I left some pulled out by the roots in the wheelbarrow for over a week before replanting and they did just fine.
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Old 06-29-2015, 12:38 PM
 
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Thanks Hemlock140, they are very cooperative. I like that they live almost through till the snow covers them up. Some years I have left the sticks up as I like the look of all the sticks in the snow, until the snow completely covers them over. My husband doesn't like that look.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,505 posts, read 46,233,444 times
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I'm jealous. Such a beautiful stand. Obviously you don't have deer problems. I would divide them simply to give them more room to spread. Put a ad in Craigslist of contact a local garden club and say Free Hosta-You dig. Just tell them to leave some of the plant back in the hole. They will be gone pronto as hosta can get very pricey.
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:34 PM
 
Location: South Raleigh, NC
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Yes, we found them to be deer food. When our outside black lab dog died all of the hastas disappeared.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Northern Appalachia
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We have hostas that were transplanted from our old house to our current house in 1996. They are mostly in sunlight and have thrived. We have not had success in dividing them and planting in shady areas. We are having problems this year with deer eating them.

I read an article several years ago that said there are hundreds of different kinds of hostas. Some are deer resistant. Some grow well in sunny areas, while some only grow well in shady areas.

I would think that fall or spring cleanup is not necessary, and would be counterproductive. By letting them decompose, you are putting nutrients back in the soil. Once the hostas start growing again in the spring, you won't know the difference.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:37 PM
 
Location: I am right here.
4,950 posts, read 4,452,438 times
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The entire north side of my house has hostas....they've been there for 25 years. I've only divided a few, and only because a friend wanted a certain type. I never clean up hostas....in the fall, the foliage dies, then gets covered with snow. In the spring, I put down new mulch over the whole lot of them, and the new green pokes up through. Been doing that for....25 years.
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Illinois
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I always do Fall prep rather than Spring prep, on all my plants. I have several bushes and perennials that need to be chopped down in the fall, so while I'm out there, I do it all. I'm in zone 5 (Illinois), and I do it in November every year. I like to wait until then because then I'm sure I gave everything a chance to get the last little bit of sun and decent weather they were going to get before winter.

So hostas get weed wacked (or even just clipped with hedge trimmers) like everything else. I also like that then I don't have to go out in the Spring and pick dead stuff off my plants. I have too much other stuff to do in the Spring. It only takes me a couple hours to clean up and winter-proof my property in the Fall.
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