Fall garden care is essential for a good winter and an even better spring. Here are our top 9 fall garden tasks to prepare your landscape for winter.
1. General Cleanup
General fall cleanup is key. Pull spent annuals and vegetables and toss them in the compost. Cut back perennials with care, removing damaged branches, as well as plants prone to disease such as garden peonies, bee balm, and tall phlox. Drain hoses and sprinklers, and clean and sharpen tools.
2. Planting and Storing Bulbs
Fall bulb planting and bulb storage are important. Plant spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and alliums. Dig up and store tender bulbs and tubers, such as cannas, dahlias, gladiolus, and elephant ears.
3. Caring for Roses
If your winter temperatures tend to fall below 0 Fahrenheit, you’ll want to protect your roses. Gently prune your roses, then apply an 8-12 inch (20-30 cm.) layer of mulch. Remove this mulch early the spring.
4. Erecting Windscreens
Winter cold damage is often due to moisture-stealing wind. Wrap plants individually in burlap, or erect burlap screens to protect them from harsh winter winds.
5. Lawn Care
Don’t forget fall lawn care. Fertilize cool season turf grass 2-3 weeks before the ground typically freezes.
6. Vegetable Garden Care
Remove spent vegetable plants once they stop producing. Protect plants from cold if they are still producing. Apply compost or other organic material to the soil to prepare for next spring’s crops.
Apply a 2-3 inch (5-7 cm.) layer of mulch to retain moisture and keep roots warm. Use pine bark chips for landscape beds, and straw or compost for veggie beds.
8. Protecting Tender Plants
Bring potted plants and non-hardy garden plants indoors.
9. Weed Control
Hand-pick or spray weeds now while they are vulnerable.