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Top 10 tips for autumn garden cleaning



As another summer draws to a close, most homeowners see their vegetable gardens and flower beds lose their luster. It’s tempting to wait until spring to tackle the task of removing the frost-bitten leaves and the occasional overripe tomato left on the vine. But proper cleanup in the fall can improve overall plant health for the following year, help minimize unwanted pests, and eliminate soil-borne diseases that can overwinter in even the coldest regions.

Make these 10 tips part of your fall routine to improve the productivity of fruit plants and enhance the beauty of ornamental plants for next year̵

7;s growing season.

  1. Clean up fallen fruits or vegetables from under trees, tomato plants and other edibles.
  2. Remove annual flowers to prevent them from reseeding.
  3. Cut back perennial flowers to eliminate hiding places for slugs and other unwanted pests.
  4. Chop leaves with your lawnmower and spread the leaf compost over garden beds to stop weeds and protect plants from frost that can cause the soil to heave in cold areas.
  5. Rake remaining leaves to prevent compaction during the winter, which can suffocate the grass and lead to dead spots.
  6. The proper summer mowing height for lawns is 3 inches, according to Kevin Jarek, Crops, Soils, & Horticulture Agent with the University of Wisconsin Extension. However, the last mowing of the season should be 1.5 inches high to prevent grass from mating down and creating an optimal environment for fungal diseases. A lower fall mowing height can also minimize pests such as voles from burrowing under snow.
  7. Water newly planted trees well before the ground freezes. This is especially true for evergreens such as boxwood, juniper and arborvitae, which continue to lose moisture throughout the winter. Consider spraying these types of evergreens with an anti-desiccant spray to prevent winter burn and die back, or wrap them in burlap.
  8. Loosen and drain garden hoses to prevent pipes from bursting, leading to expensive home repairs.
  9. Wrap the trunks of newly planted fruit trees to prevent bark freezing after occasional high temperatures during the winter season. This damage is called sunburn. Wrapping trunks also helps deter rabbits and rodents from nibbling on the bark.
  10. Finally, place all of your plant debris in a compost bin or pile. Over time, it will break down to provide what many gardeners call nutrient-rich “black gold,” which they will mix into their soil to aid plant growth. However, do not include diseased plant material, as these diseases can survive and re-infect next year’s plantings. Bag and discard them.

Following these simple tips will promote a healthy and beautiful garden in the coming year. It will also give you a head start next spring when you’re most eager to get your hands in the dirt. Happy gardening.

This article compliments of Secura Insurance Companies, a bolder insurance partner.


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