- We’ve had many questions from our followers about maintaining a fall/winter pollinator garden. As one gardener put it, “What should I do to avoid my garden getting overrun with seeds that will then create more plants, and ultimately, I will have to do more weeding?” This gardener says she is conflicted between leaving the stems for insects to overwinter or cutting them back.
Charlie Briggs, gardener at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG), suggests the following:
"During late fall (like late November), once birds have had their harvest I remove any seed heads from my plants that I know to be aggressive seeders by snapping or using pruners This usually does not include plants that I know have seedlings that are easy to pull out if they do germinate, or ones whose seedlings I will share with other gardeners or use to fill holes in my own gardens."
Charlies says that at this time, he also removes as much height or weight as needed from plants "that will collapse to a point of untidiness or inconvenience--like the native Giant Sunflower next to my driveway. All 10 feet of it will become messy in the winter so I cut it's stalks back to about 3 or 4 feet knowing that it will support itself through the season and provide great habitat for overwintering insects while not disturbing my passage to the side of my house."
Charlie removes height using Pruners, Loppers, Saw, "whichever the task calls for."