It’s fall, the daylight hours are fewer, and the temperatures have now dropped. Now is the time to start your garden preparation for fall. People take different approaches to prepare their gardens. Some get them neat and tidy while others let their seed heads stand and leave the leaves where they fall. Regardless of preference, you want to get rid of anything harboring disease and pest damage so that it doesn’t hurt your garden later. Here is a fall checklist you should follow to prepare your garden for the future.
Clean up Leaves
Leaf build up in the lawn or planting bed can cause issues that will carry all the way to the spring. Fungus as well as pests can overwinter in your garden. To prevent this, your fall checklist should include cleaning up all of your fallen leaves and putting them in the compost or hauling them off site. Too much leaf debris in your compost can raise the nitrogen level so be careful there. Leaves can also block water, sun and other nutrients from getting to your lawn or plants.
Once you clean up the leaves, this is a great time to amend your soil in your lawn AND planting beds. You may also want to consider getting a soil test done and then adding what is needed. You can either spread a thin layer of local compost on your garden OR get bags of organic Leafgro from your local garden center. Either way, next spring your garden will shine!
Empty pots or bring them inside
If you have pots around your home they can probably stay outside. However some pots, mainly ceramic, can potentially freeze over the winter and crack. Consider emptying the soil from the pots OR bringing them into your garage, sunroom or just close to your house for warmth.
Winterize your hose or irrigation system
Hoses can freeze up into the hose bib. Disconnect the hose from the house to avoid this. Also disconnect whatever nozzle you have from the hose and store it in your shed or garage with your other garden items. Some people even turn off their hose bibs from the inside to make sure no pipes freeze. If you have an irrigation system now is the time to winterize that system!
Plants and Transplants
Fall is the time to plant your shrubs and/or move your current plants to new locations.This is the perfect time to let them develop strong root systems that allow them to last through the winter. This will also give you a jumpstart for the spring. Make sure to install them with a root promoting fertilizer. It usually has a higher phosphate number (the middle number on the bag). You do not want a high Nitrogen fertilizer because this promotes leaf growth and you don’t want that going into the winter!
Fall Lawn Care
Something on the fall checklist for a lot of people is tending to the lawn. You can do this yourself or have a professional do it. You don’t have to fertilize in the fall, but if you do, make sure to get a high potassium fertilizer and put it down no later than October. Also do your aeration, dethatching and overseeding. Do not fertilizer too late or it will promote your grass to grow during the first couple of frosts and it could really harm your grass. If you overseed too late, the seeds will not germinate, so it is best to do that in September or October as well.
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