As I trimmed back some of my aggressive growers by about half, also called the Chelsea Chop, I decided to try leaving my trimmings on the ground. I did cut them into four inch pieces. While this may not be appropriate for some more manicured gardens, in this pollinator garden, it makes sense.
I have read and seen this technique online from a couple of experts and it seems to work for Lurie Garden in Chicago and a KC expert – Lenora Larson – see the video below.
What I like about this technique is that it avoids fertilizing, composting and adding mulch.
While you may want the outside edge of your garden to have a more kept look with nice looking new mulch, the inside can be covered with cuttings which will decay and feed the soil. Areas that are less manicured can have stems left to approximately 15 inches for stem nesting bees.
I prefer to use a battery powered hedge trimmer to cut the plants down during spring clean up.
Here is how Lenora Larson cleans up her garden.
The Impatient Gardener – below.