Fall Garden Preparations
By Patricia Ohlund
The end of summer is a good time to think about getting our gardens prepared for rest. There are several tasks you can do over the next few upcoming weekends that will make it easier for both you and your garden to enjoy the winter (and to make the upcoming spring “wake-up” easier too!).
If it’s brown cut it down. This works well especially for your perennials.
Feed most evergreen shrubs and trees. I use Holly Tone but there are many others that are also fine. Remember to scratch in the fertilizer and water following any feeding.
Prune your roses but don’t feed them after August. I prune roses back pretty hard and give them a good cover at the base to protect them from the cold. If you live in a really cold area and tend to lose your roses, you can build a protection around them with burlap and stakes. Do this after it has started to get cold in late October or early November.
Do not prune back your climbing roses. Simply groom them as needed but leave the long canes. Be sure to pick up spent leaves and flowers that are on the ground. This year’s heat and humidity caused a lot of black spot on the leaves.
A fresh coat of mulch is also good protection for the garden, after you’ve cleaned out the fallen leaves. It leaves things looking neat and clean for the winter.
Hydrangeas can be challenging. They don’t look good in the winter, but unless they are of the Endless Summer varieties, you should resist cutting them to the ground or you will more than likely have a big green bush next summer that, while lovely, won’t bloom! I feed my hydrangeas in the fall but it’s fine to put that off until the spring.
Plant new bulbs in the late fall. If you can add a few hundred bulbs each fall, you will eventually have a good spring display! Deer don’t eat daffodils, so they’re a good idea.
Speaking of deer, I encourage you to continue to use your deterrent throughout the winter. Some of the worst damage seems to occur in February and March when they are getting desperate! I have used Deer Stopper with good results for years. It’s an organic product and isn’t stinky!
As profiled on GRACE magazine website, www.graceforwomen.com