Time to Shut It Down and Wrap It Up

Your garden has fared well during the summer, but now that fall is here, it’s time to shift and adjust to a different kind of maintenance; one that will prepare your landscape for the spring. According to Better Homes and Gardens, you should consider planting bulbs such as grape hyacinth or daffodil, or early-blooming bulbs such as crocus, Siberian squill, and miniature iris along fences or at the edge of a yard. Be sure to add bulb fertilizer to planting holes. Dig out tender bulbs, such as calla lily, canna, elephant ears, and dahlia after the foliage freezes. For heaven’s sake, please clean up leaves! They may be pretty to look at and tempting to jump into to, but piling them up can kill a lawn. If they pile up on sidewalks, decks, and driveways they could be a slipping hazard. Try chopping up those leaves; they make good mulch for perennials or empty veggie beds. Pull up annuals and add them to a compost pile and cut back perennials, leaving 2-3 inches of the plant’s stem to help protect fresh shoots from animal damage. Avoid pruning shrubs, as this is the time they go dormant. Protect broadleaf evergreens, like rhododendron or mountain laurel, by spraying an antitranspirant/antidesiccant, and the trunks of your young tress or thin barked trees with paper tree wrap or 4” wide white cloth. Core aerate cool-season grass. A core aerator pulls out a plug of soil and drops it on the lawn. The hole provided creates easy access for needed air, water, and fertilizer to connect with grass roots. Do a couple of passes with the aerator over your lawn. Yes, your lawn will look like the gopher from “Caddyshack” had a party on your property but don’t worry, the plugs of soil will decompose quickly.

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