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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove leaves and debris from garden beds to prevent mold, and rot over the winter.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
- Prune grape vines, and blueberries bushes.
- 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.
- 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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