Fall landscaping chores are your last chance to prepare your property for winter, and to protect that curb appeal you have worked so hard to create. So pull on some gloves, grab your tools, and get ready to mulch, prune, and plant before snow and frozen ground turn the lights out on your landscaping.
“Fall mulching is better for the plants than spring mulching,” says Dan Taft, owner of The Cutting Edge in Chantilly, Va. “It helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during a cold and dry winter.”
Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch around shrubs and trees. Taft warns home owners to avoid using free mulch from municipal piles, which often contain disease spores; instead, buy hardwood shredded mulch from home and garden centers, he says.
“Cheap, dump mulch mainly is made from trees that have died from disease,” Taft says.
“Many diseases will linger in the mulch, like leaf spot and pine bark borers. You don’t want ground-up diseased plants around your landscaping.”
Remove the dead and dying
Fall isn’t the time to prune, because that encourages growth when healthy plants should remain dormant. But don’t shelve your shears and loppers yet. Fall is the time to neaten your landscaping before putting it to bed for the winter.
“If you remove dead landscaping in fall, you don’t have to look at it all winter,” Taft says.
- Remove dead annuals.
- Deadhead spent blooms, and cut back dead and desiccated ornamental grasses and perennials.