Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall lawn and garden tips.


Now's the time to start putting the garden to bed. While some of the hardy mums and ornamental grasses continue to bloom, most plants are showing the effects of the cold nights and need to be cut back. Some gardeners choose to leave Echinacea and Rudbeckia plants standing for the birds wintering over.
Others choose to leave the ornamental grasses until spring. For the rest of your perennials, remove the foliage to the ground. If you had disease or insect problems this season, it is important to clean up the area really well. Leaving cuttings and plant debris on the ground can encourage insects and diseases to winter over. Next, water each plant thoroughly. Perennials, shrubs and trees all do better in the winter if they are well hydrated now. In the case of dahlias and other tender bulbs such as canna lilies and glads, it's time to decide what you want to do with them, because they typically won't survive the winter. You can dig them up and store the tubers and bulbs in a cool spot or simply discard them and plant new ones in the spring. 
This a good time to test your soil, either do it yourself or send a sample to CSU. While you wait for the test results, consider adding organic material to your vegetable and perennial beds. Spring and fall are good times to improve your garden soil. Coconut coir, organic compost, worm castings, peat moss can be added to your garden beds now, either as a top dressing or dug into the soil.
Top dressing is easy. You dump all your amendments into a pile in the garden, then shovel or rake it across the garden. Over the winter, this top dressing will improve your soil as it breaks down. Other garden chores this time of year include
planting cover crops,
wrapping deciduous trees,
raking the leaves off the lawn and applying a winterizer fertilizer. and mulching perennials with 4-6" of mulch. Gorilla Hair and Western Cedar are good mulches. Doing these things now will prepare your garden for winter and a better start in the in the spring.

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