6 Important Fall Activities For Gardeners
There’s football on TV, the days are getting shorter and the weather is cooling off which means one thing, fall is upon us! It’s time to think about cleaning up your landscape for the winter and planning for next spring. While you may still be enjoying iced tea and balmy evenings out on the patio, winter is approaching—and getting your flower beds, trees or vegetable garden ready is important for another fresh, healthy growing season in the coming year.
Fall gardening isn’t just about saying goodbye to the plants you’ve enjoyed all summer long. While cleaning up your annuals, perennials and spent vegetable plants is certainly important, fall is also the right time to rejuvenate your landscape, plant bulbs, prune trees and a host of other activities that can enhance the appearance of your garden all year round.
Here’s a list of Corona Tool’s six important fall gardening activities:
Fall Activity #1: Plant fall garden favorites or a late veggie crop. Old favorites like chrysanthemums and impatiens thrive in autumn’s cooler temperatures, bringing a much-needed blast of color to the fall landscape. Depending upon the anticipated date of your region’s first frost, you may also be able to plant a second vegetable crop in the space vacated by peas, strawberries or other summer favorites that have long since passed their prime.
Fall Activity #2: Clean up debris and create a compost pile. Leaves and other debris left in the garden can interfere with next year’s growth and provide a home for unwanted pests. However, when properly composted, grass clippings, leaves and food waste can become a nutritious additive to your garden soil next spring. It’s a good idea to store your compost pile in a lidded container, turning it with a pitchfork every week or two to encourage air flow and balance bacterial growth.
Fall Activity #3: Prepare your soil and plant spring-flowering bulbs. Spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the fall to provide the chilling time required to generate spring flowers. Remember to prepare your soil before planting bulbs by working compost or other rich organic material into your soil to a depth of 12”. Consider using a specialized bulb planting tool with a conical shape that makes planting bulbs a snap.
Fall Activity #4: Divide perennials. Get more bang for your buck by dividing up perennials and filling in vacant garden space—or even start a new perennial garden elsewhere in the yard. For less stress to the plants, divide perennials on a cool, cloudy day to keep them from drying out, and plant them immediately. Dividing perennials in the fall gives the plant valuable time to set new roots before it expends energy on spring blooms.
Fall Activity #5: Get roses ready for the cold weather ahead. After roses have dropped their leaves, cover plants with approximately 8” of compost, soil or mulch to protect them from harsh winter weather. This is also a good time to prune back any canes so that they are not whipped about and damaged by high winds. A bypass pruner has blades which slide by each other in a scissors-type cutting action, allowing for cleaner, faster-healing cuts.
Fall Activity #6: Prune trees and shrubs. Detecting dead or damaged branches is easier when some leafy growth still exists, making fall a good time to prune many trees and shrubs. However, don’t prune any spring-flowering specimens at this time—these trees and shrubs set their flower buds in the fall, so pruning now could diminish their flower displays next spring. Try using a long-reach pruner instead of climbing a dangerous ladder to prune higher branches or uncomfortably stooping to prune lower ones.
While spring and summer are considered “prime time” for gardening, it’s important not to neglect those fall gardening tasks that will not only spruce up your landscape now, but also set the stage for an even better landscape in the months ahead. So in between all those haystack rides and football games, make plans to get into the garden this fall—it will definitely pay off in the long run.
Have your own tips for fall gardening? Share them with us and we’ll add them to the list?
All of the tools mentioned are available from various retail outlets or from the Corona website.