I sent this out as an email but for my clients and followers whose email I don’t have, here is a short blog on fall garden chores.
Although the gorgeous weather may be lulling us into a wishful summer mode, even the butterflies are still here, fall is upon us and there are garden chores to do! Now is the time to apply fall fertilizer to your lawn and garden beds. Look for a fertilizer that is high in potassium and low in nitrogen and phosphorus. So the K in the N-P-K analysis on the bag should be the highest number. Watch the weather and apply before a rain or water in afterwards if there is no rain in the forecast.
Start cutting back any perennial plants that have gone dormant or died back. I like to leave my grasses and seed heads for the birds and winter interest but if you find they look too messy feel free to chop away! Leave about 4 – 6” of stalks to help hold leaf mulch, catch winter snow and remind you that there is something there come next spring. There is still time to plant bulbs.
Clean out all dead and diseased leaves and put them in the yard waste bags. Do not home compost them as most compost piles do not get hot enough to destroy disease spores. After your beds are clean, rake up your leaves in a line along your beds and run them over with the lawn mower to blow the chopped bits into the bed as free mulch and a natural source of fertilizer in the spring. Do not put whole leaves in your bed as they will mat down and potentially suffocate your plants.
Wait until after a few good solid frosts before hilling up your roses to make sure the ground is frozen and they are fully dormant. This usually means storing bags of soil in your house so they don’t freeze as well!
As you work in your garden, make notes of good and bad plantings, what survived and what you liked. If you didn’t like it or it didn’t succeed, be tough and rip it out! Then enjoy the winter months planning for next year 🙂
Don’t forget I also do custom container and holiday designs so if you need help with your outdoor decor or are looking for a special gift, do not hesitate to contact me.