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What you need:
  • Mower or string trimmer
  • Hedge shears
  • All purpose slow-release fertilizer
Ajuga, Arabis, Aurinia, Dianthus, Iberis, Lamium, Lamiastrum, Phlox subulata, Pulmonaria, and Saponaria ocymoides all bloom in spring.
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These perennials all look best if you shear their tops off soon after the petals fade. This prevents seed formation and stimulates the plant to produce fresh foliage that looks good through summer, fall, and winter.
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The easiest way to shear a large patch of spring-blooming perennials is with a lawnmower. Sharpen the blade first so it makes a clean cut. Adjust the cutting height to 2-3". Where mowing is impeded by stones, curbs, edging, or other barriers use a string trimmer to shear a plant.
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For small patches or single plants, use hedge shears, grass shears, or pruning shears to do the job. Cut the old stems and foliage to within 2-3" of the ground.
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Immediately after shearing is a good time to fertilize. Use your favorite all-purpose fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label.