After spending time enjoying the summer beauty of your landscape, it will soon be time to begin preparing it for fall and winter. I recommend taking time during these last few weeks of garden leisure to write down all the tasks you will have to do before winter sets in. That way, you can prioritize your work and go about it in an efficient manner, rather than frantically trying to remember what you have to do each weekend.
Here is a check list of preparations that I’ve identified. I’ll cover some in more detail in later posts.
- Plant spring bulbs. Garden stores now have their stock of spring-flowering bulbs. That’s because you need to plant them this fall for them to bloom next spring.
- Plant trees & shrubs. Fall is for planting. Give trees and shrubs a head start; plant now so they’ll get established before going dormant.
- Plan your strategy for overwintering container plants. Tender plants and those planted in terra cotta containers need to be taken inside for the winter. Others may have to be moved to a sheltered location or into a cold frame.
- Divide perennials. You can do this now. If you’ve never done it, I’ll tell you how next week.
- Add winter mulch. An extra layer of mulch will help moderate soil temperatures and protect plant roots. You can add enough to bring the depth to four inches, but plan to remove the top two inches in spring.
- Kill perennial weeds. Do this before weeds go to seed to reduce the number that will germinate in the spring.
- Animal proof your plants. We’ll post a blog on this subject in two weeks.
- Fall & winter pruning. We’re coming into the best season to prune deciduous trees. Call now so we can schedule your pruning.
- Keep watering, if necessary, until the ground freezes.
Fortunately, we have a couple of months before we need to really batten down the hatches. But here are some additional late season tasks to put on the schedule:
- Rake Leaves. If possible, wait until they all fall and then you’ll only have to rake once. If your community doesn’t vacuum them up from the curb, compost them.
- Apply Anti-Desiccant. This wax-like material will protect evergreens from drying out or suffering wind burn. There’s a short application window so I’ll remind you closer to the time this has to be applied.
- Wrap tender trees. I’ll also remind you of this when we get closer to the time that it needs to be done.
- Drain garden hoses and turn off outside water connections. Do this when the first hard freeze is predicted.
I hope you heeded my advice to sit back and enjoy the result of your gardening labors during the dog days of summer because, as you can see here, a significant amount of work awaits you as summer melts into autumn.