Fall Yard Clean-Up Work

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It is the time of year to put your gardens to bed for the winter, unless you live in the areas of the country that are not affected by frost and freezing temperatures. Almost all of my annuals have died due to some cold nights and heavy frosts. As is the case with Mother Nature, one day it can be 70 degrees and the next it is in the 40's. Being in the Midwest, you sometimes can wake up to a little snow on the ground in the morning.As you can see from this picture, I have cut back most of the perennial plants, including my roses. I have a problem with Black Spot on my roses and I do my best to pick up and dispose of all the infected leaves that have dropped to the ground around the plants. I also like to cut back all the hostas to inhibit the amount of slugs that can lay eggs on the leaves. Slugs feed on the leaves of hostas and they can end up looking very shabby. In my last post, I discussed using your mower to mulch the leaves on your lawn. I do that, but I also collect some and use them as mulch on my flower gardens. I use the bagger attachment on my mower, grind up some of the leaves and spread them across the beds. They will decompose over the winter and are not a problem next spring. The leaves act as food for the soil micro-organisms, which in turn, will help the plants grow better. There is not much else to do to get my plants ready for the winter. I will mound soil over my roses so that the graft point is covered and then place rose cones over them to help them make it through the winter. I used to use leaves as mulch, but that often resulted in mold growing on the decaying leaves and caused damage to some of the rose canes. Soil acts as a good insulator and the cones help to hold in some warmth. I have not lost a rose in the last three years since I started following this process. Late fall is usually a sad time of year for most gardeners. It is generally too cold out to do much work outside. I do have a few branches to prune off and a couple of other miscellaneous jobs that need completing before the snow flies. Not much else to do besides feeding the birds, putting up and taking down Christmas decorations and waiting for the new plant and seed catalogues to be delivered next January. As you're preparing for the snow to fall, check out more of our fall lawn care tips on Spring-Green.com.