No one enjoys cleaning up after a good time. When you plan a large wonderful party, the clean up comes with it. When you have had a wonderful gardening season, clean up comes with that, too! Taking time now to do some fall clean-up now will make a world of difference in the spring. Help ensure next year’s garden is as good, if not even better, than this year’s garden by preparing now.
There are many elements to closing up the garden for fall and winter. Here at RD Tisdale Landscaping, we design, install, plant, mow, and clean up the garden every year. If you want to try to take care of it all, here are some things you need to consider when planning to clean up the garden this fall.
Take your cuttings now, before winter frost turns your plants to mush. Bring in small cuttings and plant them in pots to sustain them over the winter. They will be ready and easy to replant in the spring!
Leave some flowers for the birds, and take some inside for garden memories, but get a head start on garden clean up by cutting back plants now. Annuals should be completely removed once they no longer look fresh. Just like decluttering in your house, it feels good to clean up the garden!
Open pollinated flowers and veggies have exposed seeds. You can collect them and save them to sow next year. Herbs, seed heads, and flowers are great for drying.
Any debris leftover on the ground in your garden, and any fall leaves, should be raked up and added to your compost. If you don’t have a compost pile, now is a good time to begin one – it’s a great way to use everything you collect when you clean out the garden.
Check Plants for Disease
Check all your plants for any signs of disease. Look at leaves for spots or holes. Look for wilting branches and dead leaves. Diseased leaves and plants should be raked up and removed from the garden. Healthy plants can be left to support wildlife and mulched into your spring soil. Plants with root or crown rot should be completely dug up and removed to prevent spread to other plants. Take caution to not include diseased plants in your compost.
Check Trees for Disease
Discolored, cracked, or blistered bark on trees can indicate infection. Look for large tumors on the branches. If a tree has damaged areas mark them but do not cut the area out. Wait until January or February when the consistent freeze hits. When the trees are dormant you can cut out any tumors, cankers, or galls.
Special Note to Compost Diseased Material When You Clean Up the Garden.
Any material from diseased plants can be composted in a pile that will reach 148 degrees Fahrenheit. This will completely breakdown the plant material and kills any pathogens. That might be difficult to achieve in the fall.
Maintain Trees and Shrubs
Prune your trees and shrubs, looking for limbs and overgrown areas. Until the ground freezes you will want to be sure to continue to keep watering your trees and shrubs. They may not look alive, but they may be only dormant. If you have a mild winter with no freezing you can water all winter long.
Mulch to Enrich your Soil
Spreading an even layer of compost or manure over your exposed soil will enrich it. Winter freeze and thaw and help from the earthworms will work it right into your soil. After you clean up the garden beds, and cover them well with compost or manure, take time to cover them with mulch to keep them warm and cozy all winter long.
Winterize Water Gardens
Turn off your water pumps and turn on the ice breakers. Be sure to cover water with netting to keep out the leaves. Also be sure to drain your hose and cover your outdoor faucets.
In taking care of your garden, don’t neglect the lawn. Fall is the time to get your yard ready for its winter slumber with some high phosphorus fertilizer.
Before you store them for the winter, be sure you clean all your tools. Get the mud, sand, and oil off so they are ready for the spring. Neglecting them now may result in having to purchase new tools in the spring. Clean them, save the money, and buy more plants!
You won’t want to clean those frames out when the temperature drops, so do it now. This will make it more likely that you will use it in the spring.
Clean your bird feeders and get them ready for fall. They worked hard all season to keep your pests away, reward them with delicious fall and winter feed so that they will stay around for next year. Remember, it is also important to leave healthy flower stalks, seed heads, grasses, fallen leaves, and other plant parts in the garden to support pollinators and wildlife. Sunflowers are a happy treat.
Take Good Notes
Hopefully you have been doing this all season long, but if not, take time now to jot down how your garden went this year. You clean up the garden and it’s a good thing to clean up all those bits of information in your brain. Trust me, you will forget it all by spring. Consider the following questions:
- What did you plant?
- When did you plant it?
- Where did you place it?
- How did it do?
- What did you learn?
Taking time now to clean up the garden after a great season will save time, money, and effort next spring when you are preparing for the next grand garden season! Of course, time is precious all year long, so if you need help to clean up the garden this year, R. D. Tisdale Landscaping is here to help! Call us at 317-506-1098.
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