Fall is full of transitions – the leaves on trees slowly begin to change their color, pool parties become bonfires, and the smell of sunscreen turns into the sweet smell of pumpkin. These things are subtle indications that it’s time to prepare your plants for the wintertime. We have put together a checklist to keep you on track!
Cleaning Up Your Garden
Start by removing any vines, stems, leaves, and any other plant debris found near your plants, trees, and shrubs. You can add your plant refuse to your compost or take it to the local landfill. Composting things such as garden residue, leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps is a great way to recycle organic material. By tidying up your garden this way, you will help reduce hiding spots for any unwanted wintering pests, and come spring; your cleaning will already be done.
If you plan to start a new garden bed in the spring, run a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient needs. Adding organic material such as compost will help make spring planting easier and prepare the soil for your spring garden. Tilling or cultivating the garden soil is a great way to do this. Make sure to add all of your composted organic matter into the soil. Doing this during the fall is better than waiting until spring when the soil is wet. Tilling when the soil is wet can cause issues in your garden, such as damaged soil structure, and can create compaction issues.
Note: Wait to remove the debris from vegetable gardens after you’ve harvested your final veggies, removing any diseased or insect-infested plants as well.
Cutting and Dividing Perennials
Our perennials are faithful in coming back year to year. To keep it that way, cut perennials to the ground after the foliage has died. This way, energy will be stored in the roots for next year’s growth. Older perennials may become too crowded or begin to die out in the middle; divide the plant using a spading fork to separate the plants into smaller sections. Dividing your plants should be done before the ground freezes to give your plants enough time to settle into their new space before the cold winter months.
PRO TIP: Perennials that bloom during the spring should only be divided during the fall. Perennials that bloom during the fall should only be divided during the spring.
Next, prepare your lawn for winter by reducing mowing height to about 2-inches for the last mowing of the season. Mid-October to November (depending on where you live) is the best time to do this. Instead of raking leaves on your lawn, use a mulching blade on your mower to grind any leaves down. Grinding down the leaves will help them decompose quicker. Then, add any grass clippings and leaves to your compost pile.
Plant your Trees, Shrubs, and Spring Bulbs
Fall is an excellent time for planting or replanting any tree, shrubs, or spring bulbs! The cooler weather makes an easier transition for the plants; this will give them a head start producing root growth. Landscape plants, such as trees and shrubs, should have enough soil moisture to begin their winter dormancy. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be hand-watered frequently during the fall’s dry season or until the ground freezes. Applying mulch around your new landscape plants’ base will help keep the soil temperature higher than the surrounding unmulched soil.
Spring bulbs should be planted from late September to October (depending on your area of the country) when the soil has cooled down. During this time, planting will give the bulbs enough time to root before the ground freezes in preparation for their bloom.
Use Ultra® In Your Fall Beds
Applying Ultra® will help boost your soil, plant health, and production by adding plenty of macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates. Treating your soil with Ultra® improves soil structure and early and sustainable root development. This will lead to healthy root development, meaning the spring bulbs you’ve planted and any new trees will truly take root during the winter months. You can also expect a solid support system of beneficial microbial life within your garden, all thanks to Ultra®.
Come springtime, your pre-existing plants will be firmly rooted, and your soil will be full of nutrients, ready for all of your gardening plans!
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