The last of the vegetables are out of the garden, and most of the flowers have bloomed their last bloom, but you’re outdoor work isn’t finished just yet.
Put a few more hours into your yard now, before winter, and you’ll ensure a healthier flowerbeds later. Plus, your yard will be easier to manage when it comes back to life in the spring.
Clean Out The Annuals
Get rid of anything that isn’t coming back next year. If you still have green beans coming in or mums that have yet to bloom, then leave them. Any plant that has run its course needs to be pulled out of the garden and laid to rest in the compost pile. The rotting plant matter can harbor insect eggs, spores and diseases, which can linger all winter and cause problems in the spring.
Work in your fertilizer or manure now before the ground freezes, so it can have time to settle in and replenish your soil before spring. If you prefer to use organic mulch, then leave a thick layer on top of your flowerbeds to add nutrients and keep the soil temperature consistent. Then when the weather turns cold, you can sleep easy that your annuals have a thick blanket of mulch to protect them.
Protect Your Young
The tender bark of your shrubs and saplings are an irresistible meal for all of those scavenging critters out there. Be sure to wrap up the trunks of young trees with wire and set up burlap screens for your shrubs.
The fall is a great time to trim up your trees and bushes. Start by cutting off anything dead, dying or disease ridden. Be sure not to let those problems spread over winter. Then trim up overlapping branches and anything that is fast growing near the ground. Don’t trim everything though. Plants that bloom in the spring need to be trimmed now, before winter, but summer-blooming plants should be completely dormant before any pruning. Wait until winter for your late bloomers.
A little extra work in the Fall can mean a healthier and more manageable yard in the spring. When you’re shoveling the driveway for the first time this winter, you can rest assured that your garden is tucked in for winter — safe and sound.
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