Skip to main content

What Fall Garden Cleanup Means for Insects

Most gardeners clean up their garden to some degree in fall. Some do a thorough cutting back of perennials while others leave their plants standing all winter and still others fall somewhere in between these extremes.

seedheads in fall

There are reasons for following any of the above schedules for garden cleanup, but if you're gardening with beneficial insects in mind, you'll want to leave many of your perennial plants standing through the winter. That's the advice offered by Jessica Walliser in Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden. The remnants of the plants will provide certain insects with the shelter they need to survive the winter.

Yes, you may be providing cover for garden-damaging insects as well as beneficial insects. However, the latter will prey on the former in the coming growing season.

Image: "Laneside field margin with lots of seed heads - - 576956" by Andrew Hill - From Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
If one of your goals for next year's growing season is to bring more helpful insects to your ornamental and edible gardens, be sure to read Jessica Walliser's Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden.

In The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden, Roy Diblik recommends leaving all garden plants standing until spring, rather than a fall cleanup. The book explains this strategy's benefits for the garden and the gardener, plus recommends great plants and includes dozens of planting plans.

Design your garden to have four seasons of interest with Rebecca Sweet's Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form.