Spring weather in Montana is extremely variable. Although snow still falls occasionally, early spring is the time to begin to cut down the previous year’s growth and flower heads. It is advisable to cut down the old growth 2-4” above the ground for perennials, and 6-8” for ornamental grasses. Old growth removal is performed once a year.
As the weather warms and the spring sun shines, weeds grow quickly. It is important to be diligent, and start to weed in these early months. The perennials are still small, and weeds have sufficient light and room to grow. It is inevitable that you’ll find some grass roots in the soil, such as Quack grass, an aggressive, fast spreading grass with long root systems. There are also pasture grasses that can become invasive in perennial beds if not removed on a regular basis. With these vigorous grasses you should remove as much of the root system as possible.
Thorough weeding is especially important in a new perennial bed, when plants are small, have a small root system, and have not filled out. During the first three years, it is critical to minimize weeds so they do not continue to propagate, smother space and compete with the perennials and ornamental grasses for light and water. The success of the garden, and the enjoyment it provides, will be your reward.
Weeding thoroughly 2-4 times a month is advised.