Fall Garden Care

DoItYourself.com

Fall is a great time of year to do almost anything outside. The sun is still warm (but not too hot), and there are none of those annoying bugs that can take the fun out of any outdoor activity. Take advantage of the beautiful weather by working in your garden. There are several things you can do to make sure that your garden will grow healthy and beautiful next spring.

Clean Up

Garden tools will all last longer and be easier to use if you take the time to take care of them. Clean off any dirt, sharpen the blades, and give them a light coat of oil to prevent rust. Also, rub some oil on the wooden handles to keep them from drying out over the winter.

Get rid of the waste that accumulates around plants by raking up any leaves that have fallen in the garden and cutting off old blooms still on the plants. Insect pests and molds thrive in the environment created by old plant matter. If you get rid of this now, you won't need to worry about pests next spring.

Clean out your composter and spread the compost around the base of your flowers and shrubs. If you've already laid down wood mulch, rake it out of the way, spread your compost, and then rake the wood mulch back over top of the compost. Don't worry about digging the compost in; earth worms will do that part of the job for you over time.

Take Care of Your Trees and Shrubs

Before the first hard frost, trim your hedges and double wrap any pyramid-shaped evergreens such as cedars, junipers, and yews with two layers of burlap to prevent the weight of the snow from damaging or breaking the branches.

Fall is also the time to trim and shape shrubs and trees. With the leaves gone, you can better see the shape and get into areas you wouldn't have been able to reach when the leaves were on the branches.

Rake up any leaves on the lawn and spread them around the base of your flowers after you've cleaned out the garden beds. They will protect the flowers' roots from the cold and prevent them from drying out in the cold.

Shrubs and trees can also use some extra water at this time to help them stay hydrated and healthy during the cold, dry winter months.

After you've done your fall gardening, you can relax and enjoy the winter seed catalogs while thinking about how beautiful next year's garden is going to be.

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