Fall Clean-up Checklist








We had our first light frost in zone 5 last week, and this past weekend I definitely saw the effects.  Most of my hastas and other perennials have lost their color, and they’re looking pretty “tired” from the long, hot, dry summer.  So I started my fall cleanup, and I thought I would keep a checklist of all the things I did, not only for a reminder but I thought maybe it would make a nice blog reading.  No, I didn’t do all of the things on this list this past weekend, BUT I will accomplish most of them before the snow flies.  I keep a notebook with me always in the garden, and while I was cutting hostas I started making my list.  I’ll probably have more “to-do’s” later, but this is what I’ve got so far…

  1. Pull your annuals: amazingly many of the annuals I planted in spring are still alive and flowering, but I suspect one more hard frost and they’ll need to be pulled.  Be sure to knock all the soil off of their roots as possible and mix it into your beds.
  2. Cut “spent” perennials: I like to wait until most of the green is gone, and then cut away.  One perennial I do leave is ornamental grass, as I like the look of it in winter.
  3.  Add a protective layer of “mulch” over cut perennials, roses, or tender plants: I personally use my own compost, but some use leaves, straw or peat moss.
  4. Remove leaves and debris from garden beds to prevent mold, and rot over the winter.
  5. Do an over seeding where lawns are sparse. Fall is nature’s seeding time so a little help now will help eliminate bare or thin spots later:  Be sure to rake off dead grass, weeds, etc…don’t just throw down seed it won’t do anything trust me…
  6. Stake newly-planted trees to help them get through their first winter, and I usually wrap shrubs with burlap, but there’s time for that yet.
  7. I like to till and garden beds that need it now, I feel it lets the soil breath and I won’t have to do it in the wet spring months.
  8. Plant wildflowers if applicable:  I plant my wildflowers in the fall, I just feel like that’s when nature does, so why shouldn’t I…
  9. If you grow rose of Sharon, be sure to get rid of the seed pods otherwise you’ll have a sea of seedlings in the spring.
  10. Prune grape vines, and blueberries bushes.
  11. Wipe down and put away lawn furniture, tiki candles, citronella candles, barbeques, and any other outdoor living items that won’t hold up in the winter.
  12. Start thinking about cleaning up your Lawn mowing equipment: Don’t go nuts here, because I think there will be a couple more mows, but at least start thinking about it.

That’s pretty much what I have so far.  Keep checking back for more tips and reminders through the fall…

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