It is time for Fall gardening .... removing the spent annuals, pulling the endless weeds, cultivating mulch and planting fall flowers.
Fall gardening is just that. It feels great to get outside when the temperatures are in the mid 70’s instead of the high 90’s. Fall is the best time to do many, many things in your garden.
Mulch - Fall is a great time to cultivate all the mulch in your beds. Over the season the mulch has a tendency to become compacted. The necessary water and air cannot get to the roots of the plants where it is needed. Use a 3 or 4 tined garden Hoe to turn the mulch.
Fertilizer and weed preventer - Once you have cultivated your mulch, a good organic fertilizer and a weed preventer, such as Cockadoodle-doo organic fertilizer and Cockadoodle-Doo corn gluten weed preventer is a great fertilizer for your plants and shrubs and a natural weed preventer to keep those winter weeds away.
Plantings - The fall season is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. As the temperatures are in a cooling pattern, trees and shrubs are less likely to go into shock after transplanting. They take root more easily, because the plant is not working so hard to keep the foliage from becoming stressed due to the heat. Many trees are dug in the fall. To get trees that have been freshly dug, go to your local nursery (not big box store) in October. Ask the nursery salesperson if they are getting any fresh trees for the fall. On the East Coast, trees normally get dug in October, depending on the weather. If all you can find are trees that were dug in the spring, ask for a discount if they are already not on sale. No Nursery wants to keep too much stock over the winter. There is too much loss. When you do plant shrubs and trees in the fall they still require water, mulch and TLC. Plant your fall flowers in mid to late September so the color lasts well into the fall. Plant your bulbs late in the fall, so they don’t start to grow. Tulips and Daffodils not to mention the dozens of other spring blooming bulbs will do best planted in early November once the temps are going to stay cold.
The Lawn - Fall is the absolute best time of year to overhaul the lawn. Get a soil test to check the Ph of the soil. Lime if necessary. Aerating and or thatching are best done in the fall. Aerating is the process of making holes in the lawn, about 2 inches deep, so water and air can get to the roots of the turf. Thatching is the process of getting rid of the “thatch” or dead build up that can choke out the good turf and prevent water and fertilizer from reaching the roots of the turf. Once you aerate or thatch the lawn, I would recommend over seeding and fertilizing. Thatching the lawn will leave bare or thin areas in the lawn, if you do not over seed, the weeds will just take over. Once you have over seeded and fertilized it is a good idea to get that seed covered, to keep it from drying out between watering and from becoming bird food. Straw is a good cover, except you need to pull it up. Peat moss is a good cover and you don’t have to pull it up. A reusable grass germinating mat is also great. The grass germinates faster because it generates warmth and allows water to flow through, yet still protecting it from critters. A good organic fertilizer will get the turf through the winter without becoming stressed.
Fall is also a great time to prune your trees and shrubs. Give them a good haircut so they keep their shape. When they flush out in the spring they will be nice and dense, not stringy.
Take time to enjoy your fall gardening. Working in the yard this time of year will ensure you of a beautiful and lush spring season.