Photo by avmaier
It’s easy to overlook the outdoor extension of our homes as we head into winter. The flowers are done blooming; the leaves are changing and falling from the trees. Usually landscaping and gardening is associated more with the spring thaw, but here are a few autumnal landscape jobs to keep your lawn and garden ready for winter and looking great next spring.
Fall is a great time to prune woody trees and bushes and flowering plants. When bushes are free of leaves, it’s easier to see the shape you are pruning, and you won’t be interrupting the growth cycle in the spring. The same holds true for flowering plants. I will be cutting back my hydrangeas this fall so that the new growth in the spring will be full of flowers and I won’t need to worry about pruning drooping branches with top-heavy flowers. Be sure to do your pruning in early fall to give the plant time to heal before the frost comes and cold sets in.
2. Planting shrubs, trees and perennials.
By planting these in the fall, you are allowing the plant to focus on growing a root system because it is not spending its energy growing leaves or producing flowers, as that cycle is already passed. An added benefit of buying plants in the latter part of the summer and the early fall is that nurseries and garden centers are usually clearancing out their stock. Deeper roots for cheaper prices and less work in the spring when there is always too much to do; it’s a win-win-win.
3. Planting spring-blooming bulbs.
Probably the most common and well known landscaping done in the fall is the planting of early blooming bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths and irises. Get them in the ground before the first hard frost and be sure to get them in at the correct depth to prevent freezing while in the ground. Getting your hands dirty will be rewarded when their blooms adorn the yard before anything else next spring.
Photo by Vince Alongi
The leaves falling from the trees make a great base for your compost bin, breaking down and turning into a wonderful fertilizer for your spring gardening projects. You can avoid having to pay to have your leaves picked up and also reduce the cost of purchasing it in the spring. You can make your affordable compost bin for under $15.00.
Fall is the season to spend a little quality time cleaning off your gardening tools to keep them in good shape for next year. Making sure they are free of dirt and other grime can extend their life and prevent rust. Give your tools a thorough cleaning to maintain them and save money by not having to replace them. If you aren’t sure how to clean your tools, step-by-step instructions can be found at eHow.
6. Cover up.
Young and sensitive plants, like some evergreens, may benefit from a protective cover during the cold winter months. Burlap is a great barrier from the harsh winds of winter. If you are worried about perennials, try letting the dead, above ground portion remain and avoid removing it until next spring. It will provide a barrier from the cold. You can also cover your perennial garden with leaves to give an extra layer of protection. In the spring, simply rake away.
Do you landscape and garden in the fall? What do you do to prepare the outdoor area of your home before winter sets in?
Shaina is the home cook and wannabe photographer behind Food for My Family, where she shares recipes, tips, opinions and her philosophy on food as she wades through the process of feeding her family, her friends and anyone else who will let her.