Autumn Gardening Tips

by Donna Ferries

Watering

Give all of your plants a good drink, especially your trees. Their roots need plenty of moisture to make it through the upcoming months.

Shop for Bulbs

 

Order from catalogs or visit garden stores early for best selection.
 

Clear Debris from the Base of Roses

 

Fallen rose foliage can give diseases a safe place to overwinter and create problems in your garden next year.
 

Plant Shrubs and Evergreens

 

Early fall planting gives new plants enough time to get their roots established before winter.
 

Feed the Birds

 

Don't forget your feathered friends; their food supply grows scarce in autumn.


Divide and Cut Back Perennials

 

While you're digging them up to divide them, try rearranging plants if they haven't been working in their current location.

Test Garden Tip: Hold off dividing asters, chrysanthemums, and other fall-blooming perennials. It's best to split them in spring.


Dig Summer Bulbs

 

Love the way your favorite summer bulbs performed this year? Save them for a repeat show next year! It's easy: Dig and store dahlias, cannas, caladiums, callas, and other tender bulbs in peat moss or sand in a cool (around 50 degrees F is best), frost-free spot for the winter.

 

Rake and Mulch

 

Left unattended, fallen tree leaves may suffocate your lawn. Shred them and they make great mulch.


Bulbs for the Garden

 

October is the perfect time to plants fall bulbs for next spring. Get a mix of long blooming early, mid and late flowering daffodils. Add some bright blue muscari and a few early iris bulbs for contrast early next year.

 

Force Bulbs Indoors for Winter Color

Get an early touch of spring by planting bulbs now to bloom indoors in January or February. Bulbs such as narcissus and hyacinth work well if you plant them now and keep them cool until you're ready to enjoy the blooms.

 

Feed Your Lawn

Don't let your lawn go into winter without the nutrients it needs to battle the long sleep.

Bring Tender Container Plants Indoors

Remove dead foliage and break up any hardened soil before hauling your cherished tropical plants (such as mandevilla, passionflower, and citrus) indoors for the winter.

 

Empty Hoses, Fountains, and Drip-Irrigation Systems

Ensure any standing water is removed from your watering equipment; store items in a dry place.

 

Clean up the Vegetable Garden

Remove weeds and debris so pests won't make your garden their winter home.

Protect Cold-Sensitive Plants

Shrubs, roses, and perennials that might succumb to blasts of cold should be protected with mulch or evergreens. Place these frost barriers after the first freeze.

 

Office Chores

Update garden records. Record successes and failures, gaps in planting, favorite varieties, flowering, and foliage combinations. Inventory leftover supplies.

Garden Tip #1

 

If deer or rabbits are a problem in your area, select pest-resistant bulbs such as daffodils, Siberian squill, and fritillaria.

Garden Tip #2

 

Keep an eye out for pests, too. Before bringing plants indoors, spray them, if necessary, to keep aphids, mealybugs, or other harmful insects out of your house.

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