Gardening season isn’t over yet! There is plenty left to do in your yard and garden before the ground freezes. Doing a fall clean-up and putting your garden to bed will help you start off the Spring right. 

Here are our tips for putting your garden to bed. 

LAWNS 

  • Mow one last time at a height of two inches
  • Water 
    • Continue to water your lawn until the ground freezes. 
  • Re-seed in early fall 
  • Clear leaves and debris
    • Compost everything except diseased matter and Black Walnut

IN THE GARDEN 

  • Veggies and herbs
    • Cut down and clear out everything, except perennials 
    • Add fresh compost and turn into the soil
  •  Annuals  
    • Take out and put healthy ones into a compost pile, discard any that have had a problem with disease or insects
    • Remove any plant tags from the ground
    • This is a great time to plant bulbs, the ones that bloom in the spring
  • Perennials
    • Let foliage yellow completely
    • Divide crowded plants or transplant to a new location
    • Cut down most perennials to the ground, a couple inches for ones like hardy hibiscus and you may want to leave sedum and grasses up for great winter interest
    • Pull annual bulbs after first frost and store for winter or simply discard
    • Plant hardy bulbs and perennials for Spring color
      • Be sure to use bulb-tone for bulbs and Bio-tone for all plants when planting
    • Mulch with cypress, cedar, hardwood or pine bark or cocoa shell to provide soil nutrients through the winter.
    •  Maintain soil moisture by continuing to water until the ground freezes

LANDSCAPE - SHRUBS & TREES 

  • Cut all deadwood before leaves fall, to avoid accidentally cutting down healthy limbs
  • Plant new shrubs and trees before the ground freezes
    • Be sure to use Bio-tone and soil conditioner for all plants when planting
  • Stake anything that is new or not stable 
  • Use tree wrap on trees to protect from winter sun and prevent animal damage 
  • Mulch with cypress, cedar, hardwood or pine bark or cocoa shell to provide soil nutrients through the winter.
  • Maintain soil moisture by continuing to water until the ground freezes, especially any first-year plantings even if they were planted in the spring

ROSES 

  • Fall Care (do not prune any roses until you are sure the bush is dormant); this may be as late as December
    • Maintain soil moisture by continuing to water until the ground freezes
    • Remove any diseased foliage from around the plant
    • Continue to treat for fungus and disease
    • Stop applying any fertilizer that contains a high amount of nitrogen
    • Apply Alaska Mor Bloom or a 0-10-10 in mid-October or later 
  • Winter Protection for Roses (should not begin until after two to three hard frosts — about mid to late November) 
    • Cut back garden roses to about 8-10inches tall and cover with a rose cone
      • The paper pulp type cones hold up better than the styrofoam ones do
    • For climbing roses, thin out all but the 3 or 4 strongest canes but don’t cut those down in height, place a rose collar around the base or crown of the rose and fill with mulch to protect thru the winter
    • For shrub roses, prune to half the height of the bush if you want them to be large or prune down to fit in a rose cone if you want to keep them smaller every year

SOIL 

  • Amend with organics
    • Clay – mix soil conditioner with existing soil
    • Sand – add peat, black topsoil, and compost
  • Cut out new beds and get the soil ready for spring planting. Roto-till, add topsoil and organic matter to create nutrient-rich soil that is ready for Spring. 

ODDS and ENDS

  • Start planning Christmas decorating.  
    • Decide your holiday theme and color scheme. Determine which trees and focal points you’re going to light for the holidays.
  • Keep a journal of planting success and learning opportunities.
  • Clean ALL garden tools and pots before storing 
  • Continue to fill bird feeders and keep them clean. Food is will get harder to find as temperatures drop.
  • Winterize water features by removing pumps and cover to prevent water from collecting.
  • Dream about next year’s garden.

For more information on putting your garden to bed, or winter prep, visit any English Gardens location and talk to an expert.