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Article 3

Fall Clean-up

Fall clean up is a very important part of the yearly gardening cycle. By cleaning up the garden you are doing more than just making it look tidier, you are helping to reduce disease and pest problems for next years garden.

As you go through your garden remove any diseased leaves, twigs and branches. It is best not to compost them as our household compost does not usually get hot enough to kill off diseases like black spot or bacterial canker. Dispose of them in your household garbage. Also prune out any broken twigs and branches as these can be entry points for several kinds of fungal and bacterial diseases. When pruning out diseased branches and twigs it is a good idea to dip your secateurs in a mild bleach solution or other household disinfectant frequently to prevent the spread of the disease.

Any plant material that is not diseased should definitely be composted. All those leaves from your perennials make an excellent addition to your compost bin as do fallen leaves. A tip for the tree leaves in your yard. If you want them to break down faster in the compost bin just pile them up, run them over with the lawn mower and voila you have excellent mulch for your compost bin and your garden.

When cutting back plants like peonies, lilies and hostas mark them with a stake so you know where they are in early spring.

eileen-grass.jpgNot all plants should be cut back in the fall. I like to leave the stalks of rudbeckia, echinacea and grasses like the pennisetums and miscanthus. They look absolutely beautiful in the fall and winter with frost outlining the stems. In addition the stems help to protect the crown of the plants from frost and wet. Your rose bush is another plant that should not be pruned now. Wait until late February before you prune it back. If you prune it now it will send out new growth that will be damaged or killed in the first frost.

Now that you've cleaned up the garden it's time to apply mulch for winter protection and nutrients that will be needed in the spring. I like to add compost in the fall but mushroom manure, steer manure or plain old leaves are excellent mulches for your garden.

fall-garden.jpgFall Gardening Checklist
  • Replace spent annuals with winter pansies, winter kale and/or grasses
  • Prepare soil for autumn planting
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Dig and store tender bulbs
  • Rake and remove fallen leaves
  • Cut back spent perennials / biennials
  • Stop pruning roses
  • Fertilize plants as needed
  • Plant peonies, poppies and irises
  • Add winter mulch
  • Divide and transplant perennials and ground covers
  • Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines
  • Transplant roses
  • Plant bare-root roses

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› A Checklist of Things To Do in the November Garden
› Poinsettia Care in the Home
› Fall Clean-up
› Fall Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
› Planting Perennials
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the December Garden
› January To Do List
› Fall Planting
› Growing Aloe Plants
› Pruning your Clematis
› Hedges
› Growing Jade Plants
› Planting and Growing Bulbs
› Pleione Formosana
› Caring for Sarracenia - North American Pitcher Plants
› Caring for the Venus Fly Trap - Dionaea muscipula
› Growing Winter Heather
and many more
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