Raking leaves is a familiar fall garden task, but it’s only one of a number of steps to take when it comes to putting your garden to bed for the season. One good reason for putting effort into your garden in the fall is because it makes prepping for the spring that much easier! Here are some steps to ensure your garden weathers the winter and flourishes as warmer weather returns:
- Do be sure to rake leaves from your lawn and garden beds. Certain leaves, such as maple, become very compact when wet and can smother grasses and tender perennials. They can also help harbor insects and contribute to disease, mold and fungus.
- Consider shredding your raked leaves which can then be used as mulch for your gardens.
- Before the ground goes into a hard freeze, make sure all weeds, leaves and debris are removed from the garden so they don’t become overwintering sites for pests and disease.
- After the first hard frost, remove all dead or broken branches from trees and perennials and trim perennials down to about 3 inches. You want to make sure you prune after plants have gone dormant so as not to encourage new growth that can easily be damaged by cold winter temperatures.
- Gently tilling your soil will help to expose any insects planning to overwinter in your garden, reducing the population come spring.
- Water your garden and trees well before the ground goes into a hard frost. Your plants will appreciate the moisture come winter.
- Continue to mow your lawn into the fall as long as it continues to grow. Grass left long over winter can develop brown patches come spring.
- Mulch garden beds after a hard frost to help prevent heaving of plants that can occur as a result of freeze/thaw cycles.
- Prepare next spring’s planting beds by working in compost now. The freeze/thaw cycles will help to work the compost deeper into the soil.
- If you’re planning a starting a new garden bed in the spring, cover the bed with heavy black plastic now to discourage emergent growth of weeds and grasses in the spring.
- Drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or protected shelter for the winter.
- Clean, disinfect and oil garden tools to help prevent rust and discourage the spread of diseases.
Call us at Farmside for help preparing your landscape for colder temperatures to come. We’re happy to help you care for your property so you get the most enjoyment from it!