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Fall Checklist for the Garden

1) Plant mums, kale, millet & pansies in spots where summer annuals have been cleared out. They will usually bloom into December depending on the snow fall.

2) Leaves are garden gold. Spread small leaves of trees, such as locust, birch, beech, serviceberry and silver maple (or shredded larger leaves), over all exposed soil. They will degrade into mineral nutrients and worms will turn them into fertilizer.

fall leaves

3) Wait until the soil is almost frozen before covering plants.

4) Cut roses back by 1/3 it’s size,  rake all fallen leaves, place a rose collar around the plant and fill with soil to cover as much of the plant as possible.

5) For wrapping tender shrubs and evergreens, use winter wrap or burlap around the plant at least 3 times and tie with twine securely. Or put stakes in around the plant and burlap around the stakes.

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6) Lift larger clumps of perennials and divide with a sharp spade or knife; tease apart the fleshy roots, and replant where you’d like.

7) Plant garlic in October, in a sunny spot with lots of manure dug in. Set individual cloves 8cm deep and 15cm apart, and mulch with 5 to 8cm of leaves. When planted in October, garlic can be harvested in July, just as the first cherry tomatoes turn red.

8) Autumn is a good time for planting evergreen trees and shrubs. The evergreens’ root systems pump water all winter, so be sure to water them well before the ground freezes. And don’t hesitate to purchase deciduous flowering shrubs at discounted prices. Even after a summer in containers, they’ll adapt and make strong root growth in cool autumn soil. Just make sure that all your plants go into the winter well watered.

georgina garden centre gardening tips

9) Autumn is the only time to move clematis or honeysuckle vine to prevent shock to growth: both vines begin extending leaves and shoots while frost is still in the spring ground. If the vines are large, cut them back by half, and they’ll leap forward next spring.

10) Use generous amounts of anti-transpirant sprays (Wilt Pruf) on needle evergreens and broadleaf evergreens, such as euonymus and rhododendrons. The waxy coating helps to preserve tissue moisture and prevent winter windburn and sunscald. — Don’t forget to use it on your Christmas tree and winter urns to help keep it fresh through the holidays.

11) Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are sweeter after hard frost and can be harvested all winter. Remove top foliage from the plants and cover them with a 15cm thick mulch of leaves or straw spread to similar thickness. Throw an old piece of carpeting on top and let it snow. Lift the coverings to dig out veggies as needed.

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12) As for garden hygiene, pick up or rake diseased leaves from under roses (blackspot), crabapples (scab), maples and oaks (tar spot) and dispose of them in the garbage, not the compost pile. Left on the soil all winter, they’ll re-inoculate the plants with disease spores the following spring.

13) Squirrels “read” the disturbed soil and marks you leave when planting their favourite tulips and crocuses. Outwit them by concentrating spring bulb plantings in large groups and disguising your marks by flooding the soil surface with water. Then cover them with 5cm of leaves and blood meal.

planting bulbs

14) Remove the debris of summer annuals, then be honest with yourself: will you really go out in early spring to remove remaining perennials? Clean up as much as possible now, leaving strategic clumps for attractive winter display and food for birds. Ornamental grasses are beautiful in snow.

15) Fertilize and grass seed your lawn. If you didn’t topdress your lawn in the spring, now is a good time.