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There are still late Fall gardening opportunities to get some exercise and sunshine in the garden. Working outside makes you feel better and it’s so good for your health! Fall cleanup is important for the health of your garden too!

Start by trimming back your tired, droopy annuals and perennials and compost the trimmings.  Rake out all the fallen debris and compost this too. A clean garden bed is a healthy bed! We don’t want insects and diseased leaves wintering over in the garden. It’s better to stop fertilizing and trimming the roses. They need a chance to really go dormant. Leave the hydrangea too. We don’t want to cut off next year’s bloom by being too eager with pruning. (Been there, done that!)  Most spring-blooming shrubs should be left until after they finish flowering in spring. When the bed is clean and everything except the ornamental grasses and roses have been cut back,  we can mulch over the top with some cotton burr compost and finish up with a nice layer of clean, fresh leaves. Leave the walnut tree detritus to the landfill. All walnut tree by-products contaminate the soil with a chemical called Juglone. So that is not a desirable mulch. The grasses make a lovely winter focal point!

However, in late winter/early spring, they should be trimmed completely back for a fresh start. Roses can be cut back at tax time. (Easy to remember that way.)

Fall is for Hardscaping

This is the time to work on the hardscaping. Prepare new garden beds and lay brickwork. Create the raised beds if you are planning on putting some in. You can even generate your lasagna garden in this dormant period. More on that later! We are going to have a lasagna gardening class in late winter/early spring. We’ll keep you posted! Finally, remember to sprinkle some Preen to keep weeds from popping up during the warming spells. It works for two months if used as a final top dressing.

After your hard work, I think we should have a nice cup of hot cocoa.After all, we don’t want to be too healthy!

 

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