Winter Garden Prep
Colder weather will be here very soon, and winter soon after, and that means it is time to prepare your landscape! There are some tasks that you should definitely take care of now for a healthier landscape next spring. . .while others? Might just harm your plants in the long run.
DO Mulch and Water
Many people believe that plants need watered the most in the hot days of summer, and while that is certain the truth, it isn't the whole truth! Your shrubs, trees, and other perennials really will benifit a lot from some nice, deep watering in the fall. This gives them the chance to absorb and store lots of nutrients before the ground freezes.
Mulching (if you haven't already done so) helps prevent evaporation, and, if you mulch while the ground is still warm, it'll help maintain that toasty temperature for a little bit longer.
DO Rake Leaves Away From Perennials
I have no problem with leaves on the lawn, and I'm not a fan of leaf blowers, but I do highly recommend raking leaves away from your perennials. Particularly shrubs and trees. Leaves provide a great environment for diseases and pests, which can then hurt your perennials.
DO Replace Old or Broken Tools
Fall and early winter are a great time to replace old or broken pruners, shears, and other landscape tools. It's the end of the season, so retailers want to get rid of their stock. That means good deals for you!
This is also a great time to sharpen, clean, oil, and otherwise repair your tools in anticipation of a busy spring gardening season!
DO NOT Apply Heavy Fertilizer
You want to be light handed with the fertilizer application in fall. First, you don't need to apply anything unless the plant specifically requires it. Second, you want to apply a low dose fertilizer.
Basically, this is because if you give the plant a high dose of nutrients, it's like telling it "Hey! Time to get growing!" juuuust when it should be slowing down and entering dormancy.
DO NOT Prune
I talk a lot more about the downside of heavy fall pruning here, but let me just say fall is the WORST POSSIBLE TIME to prune your plants. Put down the pruners and step away!
Remember, the plant is ready to enter dormancy, and pruning (just like fertilizing) sends it the message to get busy growing instead. Not good.
So there you go! Some simple steps to prep your landscape (and yourself) for not just winter, but the next season.
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