Fall Garden Clean Up Tips
Garden clean up in fall is more than a “tuck in” for winter. Some cutting, raking, and weeding now sets the stage for a spectacular spring! Read on for easy and inexpensive ways to keep your landscape healthy, protected, and poised for robust growth in upcoming seasons.
Remove Weeds And Tidy Up The Yard
Clean and disinfect your garden tools before you begin. Dig up as many weeds as possible while the ground is soft. Remove broken branches, plant debris, spent annuals, decomposing roots, and post-harvest edibles. Discard diseased plant material, which should not be added to compost. Move pots and garden art from your work area, and plan to clean them later.
Cut Back, Divide, and Multiply!
Some perennials (post-bloom) will benefit from being cut down to a few inches, resulting in less damage to branches, better disease protection, and more room for spring growth. Varieties that offer winter interest can be left unpruned, including perennials with seed heads which birds love. This Old Farmers’ Almanac article will guide you as to which perennials to prune and how to do so. It also provides a list of perennials that should not be cut back.
Dividing plants multiplies your joy! The many advantages of doing so include gaining additional plants, having healthier specimens, and managing plant size. This article offers some great guidance on dividing plants, including timing for certain varieties.
Lightly Mulch Around Plantings
After you have removed debris, place a thin layer of mulch around plant bases, which will help with moisture retention, weed suppression, and cold protection. Pine bark or chips are a good choice, as they enrich soil while they degrade. Shredded leaves also work well as a nutrient-rich mulch.
Leave Some Leaves During Garden Clean Up
Fallen leaves add many nutrients to soil, including phosphorous (for root development) and potassium (photosynthesis). This nutritional fortification strengthens soil structure and improves water absorption. So, leave some leaves during fall clean up to boost lawns and gardens. You can manage leaves and reap their benefits several ways:
*If you rake leaves from the lawn, leave some on the grass. Leaves nourish the soil and provide moisture retention.
*Planning to mow a leaf-laden lawn? Consider using a shredding mower so leaves are cut in small pieces and can be left on the grass. This will save you time and benefit the turf.
*Adding leaves to your compost is a great idea for enriching garden “tea”.
*Consider leaving a pile of leaves in an unused area of your yard. Leaf litter provides food and shelter for beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife. And in the spring, you can use some of the decomposed leaves as light mulch around plants.
Deter Animals Safely and Effectively
Keep herbivores away from your landscape – it’s a key part of garden clean up. Deer and small animals are less picky about what they eat now, therefore they can do considerable damage to plantings. In turn, there is a risk of disease in the garden and the possibility of costly plant replacements.
The best animal deterrent strategy is a safe and effective repellent. Eco-friendly Bobbex was determined to be the best deer repellent tested in an independent study conducted by the State of Connecticut. Rated # 1, Bobbex Deer Repellent sprays right on plants, will not wash off in rain, dries clear in a few hours, and can be applied all year. What’s more, Bobbex will not harm people, pets, plants, wildlife, or aquatic life.
Fall Garden Care Brings Many Rewards
Garden clean up in fall brings immediate benefits as well as future rewards. Some cutting back, cleaning up, and fortifying now allows your plantings to settle into winter strong and healthy. And taking care of these tasks now will afford you more time to enjoy spring gardening. Both you and your plants will be ready to burst with energy when the warm weather arrives!