Ask the Experts

Wisconsin State Farmer
Leaves make a good mulch for plants as long as they're disease free and don't overly-compact.

Q: Can I compost oak leaves?

A: As long as they do not show signs of disease, oak leaves make wonderful compost. Be aware that oak leaves do decompose at a much slower rate than other varieties, so use sparingly, or expect to wait longer for finished compost.

Q: Should I trim back my sedums for winter?

A I prefer to leave them standing throughout the winter months as their colorful flower heads add interesting shape and texture, as well as beauty and winter interest. Sedum look especially beautiful when tufted in fresh fallen snow. Because their stems and flower heads often retain a bit of red blush, this color really pops against the white background.

Q: Should I chop back my ornamental grasses now, or wait until spring?

A: Many gardeners indicate they get the best results with ornamental grasses by waiting until spring to chop them back to about 6 to 8 inches in height. Additionally, the outstanding beauty of many varieties, with their large, feathery plumes, makes them attractive in the winter garden for both texture and vertical height.

Q: Is it time to prune back my Endless Summer hydrangea?

A: In most areas, if you wish to enjoy the largest number of blooms next year, it is best to avoid pruning Endless Summer hydrangeas after August 1. These particular hydrangeas bloom on both new and old wood, meaning you will be eliminating some of next year's flowers by pruning now.