We are enjoying some terrific weather this fall throughout the Midwest. This fall, there’s only been one day that I actually saw any frost on the grass. Even then, it only occurred in a few low spots. In fact, this entire week has been close to or above 70 degrees, which is great, but definitely not the norm for northern Illinois in the first week of November.
I was able to take advantage of the great weather when I took a vacation day. I started pulling up all of the annual flowers I planted earlier this year and cut back the perennials for the winter. The plants still looked great, but there comes a time when you have to get the work done while the weather is still good. It’s sort of sad to pull out healthy plants, but it has to be done.
One way to help prevent the reoccurrence of disease problems, especially foliar diseases, is to cut back and dispose of this year’s growth so that the reinfection of the plants is minimized. Leaving the foliage on plants over the winter will increase the likelihood that the disease will come back again next year.
I evaluate which plants grew well and which ones didn’t when I take stock pulling out the plants. My yard is very shady, so I am somewhat limited to the type of annuals I can plant, so I usually stick with begonias and coleus as the primary plants. It is nice that there are many new varieties and colors of coleus now available. I also like the new Bat-Wing begonias as they will produce a fairly good sized plant. The one plant I do not grow is impatiens. I will plant the New Guinea varieties, but not the common inpatients.
A disease known as Downy Mildew almost made this plant obsolete as by summer’s end. All that is left are stems with a few weak-looking flowers on the tips. Hopefully, the breeders will develop a plant that is resistant to the disease as normal fungicides have little effect on the disease.
If you’ve been a reader of my blog posts you will already know that I am not an advocate of raking leaves. I am one that encourages people to grind up the leaves on their lawn with their lawn mower and let nature break them down. The only raking I do anymore is raking the leaves that blow against my fence. I then move them out into the lawn so that they can be ground up when I mow. Even when the ground-up leaves are over an inch thick, I know that, by next spring, they will all be gone. I may have to mow my lawn more than once each time, but it is a good deal easier that raking all the leaves.
The long range forecast for the Midwest predicts warmer than normal temperatures. Some winters are just like that, which is fine with me after enduring some really cold winters during the last three years. Thinking back on the previous winters, I remember mowing my lawn on New Year’s Day not too long ago. The only thing I hope for is snow on Christmas. Temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s for the rest of the winter is fine by me.
Do you have any other fall lawn care chores you like to take care of when the weather is nice? Let us know in the comments!