The long, carefree days of summer are coming to a close. Beautiful gardens are yielding bountiful harvests – the fruit of hard seasons of planning and toil. While the season change is riding in on the cooling breeze there is still much to be tackled…and enjoyed! Here are some tips to help you ease into fall, get your garden winter-ready and prepare for next spring’s growing season.
Weed and remove spent growth
While some flowers, plants and vegetables are still producing, many are past their peak or done completely. Fall is a great time to pull up spent annuals and end-of-the-season weeds to give your autumn bloomers optimal nourishment.
Divide and transplant perennials
Early fall is the best time to divide and rehome any perennials that are getting out of hand. Then they can reroot and settle in before the first hard frost. Mulch around the base of these transplanted perennials to help insulate them against the harsh winter elements.
Plant trees and shrubs
Snatch up those seasonally discounted trees and shrubs you’ve been eyeing all summer! Early fall is a great time of year to plant them so they can get established before going into dormancy. Just remember to keep them well-watered and mulch around the base of each one.
What better way to honor the changing of the seasons and plan ahead for spring blooms than planting fall bulbs? Daffodils and tulips are two popular Midwest choices that will cheerfully signal some of the first signs of spring 6+ months down the road!
Ornament your lawn
Decorate your stoop with colorful mums, pumpkins and gourds and wrap your light post in corn stalks for fun, seasonal flair!
Care for wildlife
Keep seed heads intact. Not only do they provide some visual interest for your landscape once the snow flies but they also provide nourishment for local birds and woodland creatures.
Raking, bagging and hauling leaves away can be a big production for anyone contending with a heavily treed lot. This year, consider mulching your leaves into the ground and adding them to your garden beds for extra nutrients and ultimately, happier spring soil.
Empty, spray out, stack and store seasonal pots and wash and store garden tools so you’re ready when gardening fever hits you again next spring!