- Ideas & How-Tos
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The onset of fall is not only a welcome change from the heat of the summer, it’s also a precursor to the holiday festivities to come. What better time to get out in the yard, enjoy the crisp autumn air and work on some fall landscaping projects?
Trim and water shrubs and trees. Use hedge clippers to scale back shrubs and trees, and then deep-water them using a soaker hose or deep-root feeder. Deep-watering gets shrubs and trees hydrated for the winter ahead.
Trim back perennials, removing dead leaves and tops, as well as damaged stalks. Most flowering perennials will die back to the ground in the fall, leaving nothing but their dead tops. To coax the best performance out of these flowers during the blooming season, cut them back before winter arrives. Top-trimming or deadheading the plants will encourage them to focus energy on producing buds and flowers, rather than forming seeds.
Develop a labeling system for trimmed perennials. Use labeled tags, take a photo that you can mark up or draw a diagram so you can easily identify each plant in its dormant state.
Remove dead plants and weeds from all flower, herb and vegetable gardens. Toss all plant refuse into a compost bin, unless it’s diseased, in which case you’ll want to bag it and remove it from your property.
Rake away fallen leaves, grass clippings and other loose lawn vegetation. Old plant debris can harbor pests and diseases over the winter, so it’s important to get it off the ground. Compost dead leaves or, if you want to spread them in your beds, mulch them first.
Divide or relocate any perennials or shrubs. Give perennials ample water after you move them. When relocating shrubs, pull up as much of the root ball as possible, and then replant it in a hole three times its size. Water copiously to remove air pockets around the roots.
Keep compost alive throughout the winter. Turn your compost once a week to render nutrient-rich soil that you can use in your garden in the spring.
Put on a late-summer show. Pansies, marigolds, zinnias, black-eyed Susans, moonbeams, dusty miller and asters are perfect for late-summer planting. Nothing says fall like colorful and robust perennial favorites. If you live in a colder climate, plant your fall perennials in pots that you can easily move indoors.
Mum’s the word. Chrysanthemums are especially favorable for fall planting because they can weather cold temperatures, and they’ll come back next year. Mums are available in a multitude of colors: creamy white, bronze, yellow, orange and many more. Choose the color scheme that best suits your landscape.
Let autumn’s bounty inspire you. Pumpkins, squashes and other members of the gourd family make whimsical additions to porches and entryways. You can also arrange straw bales, corn stalks, cattails and dried flowers in a decorative fashion.
Make use of ornamental grasses. With a color spectrum ranging from orange to red to gold, ornamental grasses are becoming increasingly popular for both fall planting and displaying in decorative autumn arrangements.