Fall is, without a doubt, the best time for gardening. It’s not too hot and not too cold. That’s why it’s Goldilocks’ season of choice. Since the milder temps are easier on people and foliage, fall gardening is more enjoyable than toiling in the blazing sun of mid-July.
Add these tasks to the fall to-do list and reap the rewards of the sights, sounds, and aroma of a beautiful spring garden.
- Plant spring-blooming bulbs. Unfortunately, planting bulbs doesn’t provide instant gratification. Yet, we all know that good things come to those who wait. This wait is necessary, as bulbs require a period of cold to bloom. And if you’re patient, they will transform from ugly ducklings into beautiful swans come spring. There are endless colors, combinations, heights, and shapes to choose from. Consider a few such as daffodils, grape hyacinths, and allium, which aren’t favored by pesky squirrels, chipmunks, and other critters.
- Plant pansies and their “mini me’s,” violas. Pansies are not frail little garden flowers. How they became associated with wimps is a mystery. Pansies and violas can handle both cool (down to single digits) and warm temps and will add color to both your in-ground garden and container gardens from fall until summer. The still-warm fall soil gives their roots time to develop and bloom through winter.
- Keep planting. Fall is the time to start planting most flora that will thrive in the spring and summer. You won’t get winter blooms, as with pansies, but milder temperatures make it much easier for plants, perennials, shrubbery, and trees to establish roots and survive the winter. Fall temperatures make it easier on the planter, too.
- Water deeply. Continue to water plants, grass, and anything that’s been planted recently, even if it has gone dormant. Lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, until the ground freezes.
- Begin growing new grass. If your yard lacks that all-important lawn staple, healthy grass, then fall is the time to take action. The options are seeding or laying down new sod. Seeding is less expensive, but sod offers quicker results.
- Cut most perennials back after they have gone dormant. The most important are dormant plants with diseases and those with leaves where bugs, such as slugs, like to lay eggs during the “off” season.
- Rake leaves. While finely textured leaves will easily degrade, broad leaves like those of maples, sycamores, and oaks, take much longer to degrade and will become matted and potentially smother grass and perennials.
- Mulch. Mulch around newly planted perennials and shrubs to give roots time to establish before the winter. Mulch helps to keep soil temperature steady.
- Consider hiring a landscape company. If you’re too busy, or gardening isn’t your thing, don’t throw the proverbial “towel “in yet. Instead, hire a landscaping company, like Turf Clips, to do your dirty work. Turf Clips allows you to choose the frequency and type of services you need throughout the year. They offer everything from debris removal, mulching, planting, and weeding, to fertilizing, pruning, and landscape design.
Enjoy the fall weather, bonfires, and leaves changing colors, but don’t forget your gardening to-do list. You won’t regret it when spring arrives.