Fall Landscape and Garden Maintenance Tips

Happy Fall, lets plant!

Happy Fall everyone! I never tire of a season change. Each new season brings on an excitement of things to come. To me, Fall means sweaters, cozy days, lots of baking, and lots of gardening! Well lots of gardening is every season for me, but Fall is a great time to put in new plants and to get your landscape in shape and ready for the winter and the following Spring. So I’ve made a list of work you can do during the Fall to help your landscape thrive.

Rake Leaves

You knew this would be top of the list. The good news is that raking leaves doesn’t have to be done in vain. You can save your leaves, add them to your compost bin, and have gorgeous nutrient rich, humus to add to your soil in the Spring.

Here are a few tips to make your leaf raking less of a chore:

  • Stay on top of raking leaves so that the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming-do a little bit every week instead of spending an entire weekend raking all of them.
  • Rake your leaves onto a tarp, this way you can fold the tarp up and dump the leaves all at once.
  • Save them in a compost bin. Turn your leaves once a week to get good airflow and in the Spring time you’ll have a nice top dressing for your plants.

Practice Patience with Pruning

When doing a Fall cleanup its easy to get carried away and go to town pruning every plant you have. Try to avoid doing this as you can cause more harm than good. You’ll want to prune larger trees and shrubs when they are completely dormant in the Winter. Pruning promotes new growth so as plants are winding down their growing season and getting ready to go dormant, you can disrupt their cycle and actually make them weaker. Another reason to hold back on pruning is that many perennial shrubs have already produced their flower buds and are waiting until Spring to show them, so pruning them back means no flowers in the Spring. And yet another reason not to prune in the Fall is that it promotes disease. Cutting a plant leaves an open wound, and it is likely (well hopefully) that it will rain in the fall. Since water encourages the growth of microbes, your plants can easily become diseased.

Plant new shrubs

Fall is a great time to plant new trees and shrubs. The soil is still warm from the summer and the air is cooling down. When the air is cooler than the soil, root growth is encouraged more than top growth. This helps a plant grow a well established root system and be a stronger, healthier plant for next Spring. The temperature drop also keeps newly transplanted plants from getting too stressed out from the extreme heat. The cooler temperatures make it easier on the gardener too!

Plant cold season veggies and herbs

We are huge advocates of edible landscaping. Your garden can be beautiful and functional, providing you and your family with healthy, fresh food right in your back yard. If you keep a summer garden, it will soon be time to replace the heat loving plants with cool season veggies and herbs. Make sure you amend the soil with compost before planting since your summer veggies took up a lot of the nutrients in the existing soil.

Here is a list of some cold season veggies and herbs to start now:
Bok Choy
Collard Greens
Swiss Chard

So lets get to work! This week I’m going to start raking the leaves that have been piling up and I’m going to replace some of my older shrubs that are about spent with some fresh new plants. One thing is for sure though, I will be popping inside every once in a while for a bite of pumpkin pie! Happy gardening!

photo credit:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25325305@N00/52996712″>Oak Leaves</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>